Surfing Madonna in Encinitas A No-Go

In the spring of 2011 Leucadia resident and artist Mark Patterson created a 10-foot square stained-glass mosaic depicting Our Lady of Guadalupe on a surfboard and installed it secretly and without the permission of the city of Encinitas below the railroad overpass on Encinitas Boulevard. The piece became known as the “Surfing Madonna” and though it was taken down due to lack of permission from the city, in January a proposal was made by the city to borrow the artwork from the artist and have it displayed near Moonlight Beach at the northwest corner of Encinitas Boulevard and Coast Highway. The proposed piece of land on which the mosaic was to be placed belonged to the state of California and so approval had to be sought from the state before the piece title “Save The Ocean” – though commonly referred to as “Surfing Madonna” – could be displayed. Despite the artwork having gained popularity with many members of the community and even state assembly, as well as having gained its own Facebook and Twitter accounts, the State Attorney General’s Office ruled that, due to the religious undertones, placement on state property of the artwork would be a violation of the California Constitution.

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