"Surfing Madonna" Mosaic Appears in Encinitas

"Surfing Madonna" Mosaic Appears in Encinitas (James Koh / April 26, 2011)

SAN DIEGO - A state legislator has introduced a bill that would allow the guerrilla artwork known as the Surfing Madonna to be placed at Moonlight State Beach in Encinitas in northern San Diego County.

The mosaic has been in storage since late June after the city ordered its removal from the wall of a railroad underpass on Encinitas Boulevard.

Boosters had hoped to have it placed near the beach but were crestfallen when the state parks system, citing a legal opinion, said it would be improper because it seems to favor one religion over another.

In response, Assemblyman Martin Garrick (R-Carlsbad) has introduced AB 1825 to allow the mosaic to be placed at the entrance to the beach.

The 10-foot-square, stained-glass mosaic showing Our Lady of Guadalupe riding a surfboard, with a portrayal of St. Juan Diego on the board's nose, appeared mysteriously in late April on a wall supporting a train bridge over Encinitas Boulevard, just two blocks from Moonlight Beach.

The artist at first remained anonymous but later came forward and was required to pay the cost of having his artwork removed.