ENCINITAS, Calif. -- A study is underway for the now famous stained-glass mosaic in Encinitas to determine if the piece can be removed from the train underpass without damage, a city official said.
A local art expert said there is little to no chance to remove the "Surfing Madonna" without destroying it.
"In my professional opinion it can't be removed in one piece or even multiple usable pieces," said Jack Quick, owner of the nearby art store, Rhino Art. "It's very delicate. It's going to just shatter. You're probably better off just rebuilding it somewhere else."
Quick who is also a general contractor said he has examined the mosaic and speculates that the epoxy used to affix the six panels that make up the mosaic to the concrete cannot be undone without a major undertaking.
"The only way to guarantee to get this out in one piece would be to saw cut it out," Quick said.
He added that doing so would severely damage the structural integrity of the train underpass.
Jim Bond, the mayor of Encinitas, reiterated Wednesday that his desire is to remove the mosaic without damaging it.
He said he's hopeful this can be accomplished and the art returned to it's still unknown creator.
City officials were hesitant to estimate how much it could cost to remove the 10-foot by 10-foot artwork saying that conservancy group is currently conducting a study to determine just that.
Richard Phillips, the city's assistant manager said the study is expected to be completed in the next few days at which point the city will review the findings.
Estimates by Quick put the removal costs in the thousands, which would be a significant chuck of the parks and recreation department's budget. Officials with the parks and recreation department said Encinitas spent more than $65,000 last year on graffiti services.
Officials said this number does not include the cost of staff hours used on other graffiti-related items like cleaning up after Cardiff's infamous "Kook" and the statue's various costumes.