Hey Ocean Beach – The Surfing Madonna Needs You

by on February 7, 2020 · 1 comment

in Ocean Beach

Dear Ocean Beach: this is your opportunity to save the iconic mosaic

By Colleen O’Connor

Quick.  Put in an application.  Encinitas is in a twist about the “Surfing Madonna’s” future.

You know that iconic piece of art put together in the dead of night — under a bridge overpass — to everyone’s surprise and delight.

The 10×10 foot mosaic of the Virgin of Guadalupe, surfing a wave, cape waving and hands praying, with a “Save the Ocean” inscription became national news.

Few locals cared about the lack of permits or the mystery behind the artist’s name or inspiration.  It was a kind of “love at first sight.” The devotion and intrigue grew.

The city of Encinitas, however, declared the Madonna “graffiti” and ordered it removed.  No permits. Once the artist’s name was discovered (a few letters under the tiles) as Mark Patterson, he was order to pay a $500 fine and roughly $6,000 for the icon’s removal.  A task that took all of 90 minutes.

The mosaic generated its own life; its own news, its own universal message — about the fragility and wonder of beach beauty —and a new “cool” patron saint for the fun town.

The Surfing Madonna still defines the beach community — indeed, the entire, laid-back beauty of every coastal community—and continues to inspire its own kind of devotion and possessiveness.

It also inspired the creation of a charitable foundation, “the Surfing Madonna Oceans Project,” designed to save the mosaic and encourage environmental protections.

Now, a new wave of disputes — born of the usual toxic brew a “billing dispute,” personality differences, and high salaries—has hit social media. The foundation sponsors running races to fund itself.

However, “The charity was the subject of a report in The San Diego Union-Tribune last month showing that Nichols (Chairman of the foundation) and his wife collected salary increases in 2018 that, combined, amounted to nearly one-third of the organization’s revenue at the same time the grant awards declined.”

And the City of Encinitas is requesting additional funds for lifeguard services during the half-marathon runs.

The dispute has escalated into a social media spat about who demanded what, why, and when.  Then came the threat of removing the Surfing Madonna (again) it to a more friendly city where “it would be more appreciated.”

Enter Ocean Beach.

Can you imagine any town in California that would have a more raucous welcome for the Surfing Madonna that O.B.?

You can do it.  So what if there is no satisfactory space, no money, and no leader to start the process.  O.B. can do it.

Think of it.  More fun than the Christmas tree raising.

Live up to your motto: “O.B. beside the Point.” Save the Surfing Madonna.

Hurry up, or else, the “Point” will.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Peter from South O February 7, 2020 at 2:55 pm

Beware, OB. These people are looking more and more sketchy.


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