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Encinitas’ Surfing Madonna Has Place To Call Home

Photo by Promise Yee

Gathered below the Surfing Madonna mosaic in Encinitas, the Snavely family celebrate a memorial brick dedicated to Allan Snavely, July 29, 2014.

The Surfing Madonna mosaic that created controversy when it was first installed in Encinitas three years ago has now found a permanent home.

Mark Patterson, mosaic creator and chairman of Surfing Madonna Oceans Project (second from left) along with Megan McCarthy, project marketing assistant, and Bob Nichols, project vice chairman, celebrate the new home of the Surfing Madonna mosaic in Encinitas, July 29, 2014.

Memorial bricks, like this one for former Encinitas city councilwoman Maggie Houlihan, are being sold at the foot of the Surfing Madonna mosaic as a community fundraiser.

The mosaic was removed from its original location under a railway overpass after state law ruled it violated the separation of church and state. It now graces the street wall of a private pizzeria across the road.

At a celebration at the site on Sunday, mosaic creator Mark Patterson said the artwork is aiding the community in ways he never imagined.

The annual Surfing Madonna 5k/10k run has raised money for the last two years for youth scholarships, including a special needs surf school, Patterson said. Now memorial bricks at the Madonna’s feet are being sold to raise funds for other community projects

“That was one of the big 'aha' moments for us is when we realized we have the potential to change things in lots of ways," he said. "Not just issues with the ocean, but also people’s lives for the better. That was a huge awakening.”

The memorial bricks honor friends or family members, or share inspiring quotes.

The brick fundraiser will continue until all 1,000 bricks at the base of the mosaic are purchased. The bricks allow donors to be a permanent part of Surfing Madonna history.

Funds raised will help support community programs focusing on the ocean, youth and individuals with special needs.


Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 30, 2014 at 8:53 a.m. ― 2 years ago

This thing belongs in a landfill.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | June 30, 2014 at 10:24 a.m. ― 2 years ago

I enjoy seeing it every time I ride the Coaster. A true work of art.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 30, 2014 at 11:03 a.m. ― 2 years ago

This is exactly the way it should be done! The constitutional separation of church and state is upheld and everyone is happy!

I'm glad they found a good place for it off of public land and are able to raise money for its maintenance.

They should do the exact same with the Mt. Soledad cross.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 30, 2014 at 11:14 a.m. ― 2 years ago

I don't think madonna on a surf board is really a religious artwork. It is like that piece of art that is a cross soaking in a huge container of urine. I don't think that is religious.

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Avatar for user 'harleychustle'

harleychustle | June 30, 2014 at 4:34 p.m. ― 2 years ago

Waste of space

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 1, 2014 at 8:13 a.m. ― 2 years ago

"waste of space"

"belongs in a landfill"

Yes, let's not let San Diego get anything original.

What is disgusting and a waste of space is the fact that you can't tell what city you are in anymore because everything looks the same. The same chain restaurant signs, the same strip-malls, the same white-washed bland nothingness.

I welcome the few precious chances we get to actually display original art displayed in public, I think it enriches our lives.

Also, I agree this isn't really a religious piece, I think it incorporates religious cultural symbols to make a point, but it's not art for the sake of religion; it's art for the sake of art.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | July 1, 2014 at 10:29 a.m. ― 2 years ago

Good point Duck.

“We must have religion for religion’s sake, morality for morality’s sake, as with art for art’s sake...the beautiful cannot be the way to what is useful, or to what is good, or to what is holy; it leads only to itself.” - Victor Cousin, 1818

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