Flash Mob Rallies In Support Of 'Surfing Madonna'

Supporters Say 'Surfing Madonna' Should Stay At Original Location On Encinitas Boulevard

Dozens of supporters of the 'Surfing Madonna' in Encinitas took to the streets on Saturday in an effort to keep the mosaic in its original location.

A flash mob -- which is a sudden gathering of people who briefly perform an unusual act and then disperse -- sang and chanted as they walked through the streets of downtown Encinitas before finishing at the site of the Surfing Madonna on Encinitas Boulevard.

"It's a magical piece," said Bruce Stephens, who participated in the flash mob. "It makes people happy."

"I think it is an iconic image for 'Save the Ocean' and I think it bypasses all religion and everything," said Beverly Goodman, who owns the Coast Highway Traders store.

She said if the mosaic has to be removed, then she would like to have it placed close to her store.

Encinitas city leaders want the mosaic taken down because the artist, Mark Patterson, did not get city approval to put it there.

City leaders also believe the mosaic is a safety hazard because the people stopping to take pictures with the mosaic have been stepping in the traffic lanes. There have been several close calls.

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.

"There will be some consequences," said Encinitas City Councilmember Maggie Houlihan.

Patterson could be cited and fined. On Thursday, Patterson became emotional when he was told there were community groups who said they would pay fees or fines if he is held responsible.

"The people who have expressed love for that mosaic – it's just unbelievably touching to me. It makes me cry, frankly. You know I get choked up thinking about it because it's just so overwhelming," he said.

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