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Surfing Madonna Finds New Home In Nearby Leucadia

One year and three days after a popular glass mosaic was removed from public property north of San Diego in Encinitas, the surfing Madonna has a new home about a mile away from the old site and its already drawing lots of attention.

KPBS Evening Edition

Surfing Madonna

From amateur photographers to patrons enjoying a tasty beverage, the controversial surfing Madonna is drawing a lot of attention at its new location, sandwiched between a coffee and surf shop on North Coast Highway in Leucadia.

The 10-foot-tall stained glass mosaic was considered graffiti and a religious icon on public property, forcing its removal from under a bridge last June in nearby Encinitas.

The artist, Mark Patterson, put it up in secret and without city permission. He's now gone from outlaw to artist in residence. "It's nice not to have to worry about any kinds of legal issues when you put something like this up on private property -- it's a lot simpler," he said. Patterson said he completed the re-installation Monday night.

Ralph Kruse came from Encinitas to see it. He's been fascinated by all the publicity and started collecting newspaper articles about it. He even got one signed by the artist himself. "I'm going to have the only autographed original piece. This is a piece or art," Kruse said.

And friends Kathleen Lindemann and Louann Honarvar were also happy to see the mosaic in its new location. "In this spot she makes everything seem happy and joyful, and I think that's the difference between the two spots. One she made you feel very safe and here she makes you feel very joyful and happy," Lindemann said. She invited her friend who said she didn't understand what all the controversy was about. "The surfing Madonna represents so many things -- not just religion, not just the ocean. It's just all of those things put together," Honarvar said.

Mark Patterson said he's happy to have his artwork displayed in his neighborhood. He struck a deal with the property owner to keep it on permanent loan outside the buiding in Leucadia. The artist said the mosaic represents the history and culture of San Diego. His bigger message is one of conservation: to save the ocean for future generations.

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