Sources told 10News on Wednesday that the controversial 'Surfing Madonna' in Encinitas will likely be moved from its location.
Encinitas city officials confirmed they are in talks with Leucadia artist Mark Patterson who has been identified as the artist of the mosaic and his lawyer.
They are working to resolve the controversy surrounding the placement of the mural. However, moving the Surfing Madonna from a railroad bridge support on Encinitas Boulevard may be more difficult than Encinitas city officials initially thought.
Consultants from the Los-Angeles based Sculpture Conservation Studio were paid $2,000 by the city to determine the best way to remove the unauthorized artwork without ruining it.
"That will be challenging," said consultant Andrea Morse, who worked on the report. Morse explained that her team found "some sort of metal mounting" behind the colored glass, which indicates the person who installed it was looking for staying power.
"It's a beautiful piece," said Morse, who added that the installation was "well thought out"
The 10-foot by 10-foot glass mosaic shows what appears to be the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe riding a surfboard with the words "Save the Ocean" on the side.
The rogue art was installed by a fake construction crew on April 22 and has been a source of controversy ever since.
Encinitas has a reputation of being an art-friendly community, but the mosaic has religious overtones and was not approved by the City Council before it went up.
City leaders said they are trying to balance their respect for the arts with the law, which puts the Surfing Madonna in the same category as graffiti vandalism.
Every day, tourists and locals flock to the mosaic. People in passing cars sometimes scream, "Save the Madonna."
"I know that it wasn't authorized, but it's beautiful," said Oceanside resident Diana Santiago, who posed for pictures in front of the artwork. "It's just remarkable that somebody took the time and took that money and their energy to make this."
"Look at all this money that they're investing just to see if they can remove it," said Santiago's sister, Debra. "Don't bother, leave it."
A source at Encinitas City Hall told 10News the mural will have to be removed because of safety issues. There have been some close calls when tourists have stepped in the roadway to take pictures.
No action has been decided yet, but several citizens voiced support, calling the artwork something that has unique value.
"[It's] uniting the Latino community, surfers, ocean-lovers, environmentalists, and promoting ocean awareness in a way that's playful," said a supporter.
Copyright Do you have more information about this story? Click here to contact usCopyright 2011 by 10News.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.