News Old - DO NOT USE - The Coast News Rancho Santa Fe

City decides: ‘Surfing Madonna’ mosaic must go

ENCINITAS — Despite pleas from some residents, City Council unanimously agreed to fund a study to ensure the best way to remove the rogue art that has drawn hundreds of visitors and garnered national attention.
The council voted to appropriate $2,000 for an art consulting group to determine the best way to remove the eclectic six-paneled mosaic, which features Our Lady of Guadalupe on a surfboard with the words “Save the Ocean,” attached to a concrete structure under the railroad bridge that crosses Encinitas Boulevard just west of Vulcan Avenue.
A secretive crew posing as construction workers installed the colorful 10-foot by 10-foot mosaic just before Easter.
North County Transit District owns the railroad bridge, but the support area falls within land that the city maintains under a decades-old property management agreement with the transit district according to assistant city manager Richard Philips.
The public art has received overwhelming support but council members made it clear in the meeting on May 18 that the unsanctioned art had no place on public property. Deputy Mayor Jerome Stocks said allowing it to stay in its current spot actually gives future “artists” a potential defense should the city try to seek legal action against them.
Some speakers rallied against keeping the art on public property and expending funds on researching ways to bring it down.
Amy Sies, an Encinitas resident, said the piece is inappropriate for its current spot and that it should come down no matter its condition.
“I think religious art has no place on public property,” she said.
Stan Gafner, a self-proclaimed artist, agreed.
He said the artists’ actions are “cowardly” and that he, she, or they should be prosecuted. He implored the council not to spend any taxpayer money to fund a study of how to best remove the piece of art with the least amount of damage.
But others addressed the council in favor of keeping the art in place. Dody Crawford, president of the Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association, called the mosaic a “miracle in a skeptical world.” She described it as “thoughtful, beautiful and joyous” and encouraged the council to leave it in place in order to preserve it.
Several local businesses have offered to display the piece on their private property if it is removed. Residents at the council meeting also brought up the idea of privately raising money once the firm, Sculpture Conservation Studio, finishes its study.
As Stocks announced he supported the motion to spend $2,000 to study removal of the piece, Sies stood up from the back of the council chambers and shouted that he was a hypocrite.
After a short verbal exchange, Stocks motioned for Sheriff‘s deputies to ask Sies to leave the meeting. The officers approached her seat at the back of the council chambers and she exited council chambers without further incident.


SF Follower May 20, 2011 at 7:13 am

Check it out: There’s been a Surfing Madonna Sighting on and

Joe Doakes May 20, 2011 at 8:30 am

It can be duplicated anywhere. It is not like the M<ona Lisa on a canvas in the Louvre. If a private businessperson wants to display that mosaic image again, they should also, as part of the deal, pay to have the old one removed. And the artists and his cohorts should be enjoined from doing any such thing again. Don’t think this is the last such thing you will see.

bgfal May 20, 2011 at 8:41 am

if they can leave the paintings in chicano park, why not this one

Joe Doakes May 20, 2011 at 8:57 am

The Chicano Park Monumental Public Mural Program was conceived by Torres in 1969. He was well aware of the need for the involvement of city and state officials in obtaining formal consent for his project. Meetings were conducted with Assemblyman Peter Chacon and H. B. Thysell, manager of the Coronado Bay Bridge, in attendance. Torres expressed his desires "that if we as artists were allowed the freedom of creative expression, and the independence needed to develop this unique concept, we would work as equal partners in this artistic scheme by collaborating and keeping open lines of communication.æ Negotiations continued for many years.

See the difference?

E.Brady May 20, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Now what will become of the mural? My suggestion is that the artwork be auctioned off. The proceeds donated to the Parks and Recreation Department to be used to support "Save our Ocean" activities.

dubwise May 23, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Artwork seems too subjective to be involved with public property.
I wonder how much Sol Bch paid for the giant superwoman eyesore by the train station? The "artsy" bars blocking the ocean view in Carlsbad? The Cardiff "kook"? Cut the cost of running each and all of these cities first, get infrastructure fixed, have polititians and govt workers take a 30% pay cut, eliminate outrageous govt. employee retirement schemes, then we can lower the cost of doing business all the way around, and focus on what the public pays govt to be doing. There’s obviously no incentive for govt to work hard, on any level–is there?

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