‘Surfing Madonna’ loses a round in Sacramento; hunt for a home continues
The hunt for a place to display the “Surfing Madonna” mosaic in Encinitas is continuing after a state legislative committee declined to endorse a bill that would allow it to be placed near Moonlight State Beach.
The Assembly’s Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee heard a presentation Tuesday from Assemblyman Martin Garrick (R-Solana Beach) but declined to vote on his bill, which would have allowed the 10-foot by 10-foot artwork to be placed on state property.
To endorse Garrick's bill would mean overturning a decision by the state Department of Parks and Recreation that the mosaic's religious theme makes it unacceptable for public property.
The mosaic showing Our Lady of Guadalupe riding a surfboard, with a portrayal of St. Juan Diego on the board's nose and the motto “Save the Ocean” down the side of the artwork, appeared mysteriously last April on a wall supporting a train bridge over Encinitas Boulevard, two blocks from Moonlight Beach. Overnight it brought crowds.
The artist at first remained anonymous but later came forward and was required to pay the cost of having his artwork removed. By June, it was removed and placed in storage, where it remains.
--Tony Perry in San Diego
Photo: “Surfing Madonna” before it was removed. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times