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