Reprieve Granted For Encinitas 'Surfing Madonna' Mural

Mural Appeared On Overpass Wall Near Encinitas Boulevard, Highway 101

The fight to keep artwork known as the "Surfing Madonna" in Encinitas won a temporary victory on Wednesday but the artwork's long-term future remains uncertain.

The city of Encinitas is considering a 90-day reprieve for the stained-glass and mosaic artwork, which is displayed on a supporting wall of an Encinitas overpass. It secretly appeared Easter weekend.

Art enthusiasts marvel at how quickly it went up.

"We call them 'guerilla artists' and that's part of the sensation of it... the fact they completely ignored city policy," said art activist Mike Clark.

That policy calls for approval from the city of Encinitas and the involvement of the Arts Commission. Neither of those happened.

So, supporters on Wednesday asked the city for a 90-day reprieve so that the work could go through the right channels.

"So we have time to decide where it can go if it can stay how it would be dismantled if it has to be dismantled," said Clark.

If the City Council decides that the artwork has to come down, it won't be an easy task, which is why Clark hopes the artist responsible will come forward and reveal how he or she got it to stick to the concrete wall.

"We need to know what solvent is used, if an epoxy was used, so in fact it can be saved," added Clark, who supports offering amnesty to the artist so the person can reveal how it was done.

There was no commitment from the city on that but there was an apparent agreement from the mayor to give the work some time.

"We will go through that process... Thank you," he said.

10News spoke with the artist who also caused controversy in Encinitas last year when he put a 15-foot shark around a sculpture known locally as the Cardiff Kook.

10News asked the unidentified artist if he is the artist behind the mural, and he replied, "I had nothing to do with it, absolutely nothing to do with it."

Encinitas city officials said they've been flooded with e-mails and phone calls in support of keeping the mural. Supporters hope those help get the mural a permanent place in Encinitas.

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