Open Letter to Encinitas City Council Re: ‘Surfing Madonna’

by on February 12, 2020 · 2 comments

in Ocean Beach

The Surfing Madonna artist is threatening to relocate the iconic mosaic. Here’s a solution below. The Encinitas City Council meets at City Hall, 505 S. Vulcan Ave., Encinitas CA, 92024 at 6 pm.

Open Letter to Encinitas City Council

Re: Status of “Surfing Madonna”

By Colleen O’Connor

Dear Mayor and Council Members:

You will vote tonight on the future of the “Surfing Madonna” mosaic.

As it is indisputable that there are issues with the Charitable Foundation, its partnership with the City and the future of its special needs surfing camps and fundraising runs, I would like to propose a temporary solution.

Granted it requires both the Council’s vote and the agreement of Mark Patterson–Artist and owner—of the iconic mosaic, but it just might meet everyone’s needs in the interim.

Whereas: the “Surfing Madonna” may be declared a “free agent” at your Council Meeting tonight:

10C. Discussion and consideration of the Surfing Madonna Oceans Project (SMOP) proposed Save the Ocean beach run major special event on November 1, 2020, and future Surfing Madonna Oceans Project special events. Contact Person:  Parks and Recreation Director Campbell

Recommended Action: 1) Deny the Surfing Madonna Oceans Project, November 1, 2020 Save the Ocean beach run, and future Surfing Madonna Oceans Project special events; and 2) Direct staff to return to City Council with a recommendation to re-initiate a City community run on the beach and expand programming to provide special needs surf clinics for children.

2020-02-12 Item 10C Surfing Madonna Oceans Project Special Events

And Whereas: The mosaic is a coastal and national treasure with a life and historical significance all her own;

And Whereas: Every beach community in San Diego would be honored to provide her with “sanctuary status.’”

And Whereas: Ocean Beach has a history of leading on all things environmentally, historically, and culturally relevant to their socially, responsible active community;

Therein Be It Resolved: That Ocean Beach be allowed provide the best solution, setting, and historically appropriate sanctuary for the “Surfing Madonna.”

For example, one such site with a lovely big wall on the Santa Monica side of the Sutliffe Building, which is now historic, with a plaque and provenance.  Right across the street from the Lifeguard Station.

And others have suggested several locations from their own backyards, to ocean front churches; and coffee houses with large walls.

Temporary sanctuary status for the “Surfing Madonna” seems appropriate.

Thus, preserving what is best about the iconic piece of art without further antagonisms.

Open up the possibilities.

Respectfully,  A native San Diegan fan.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter from South O February 12, 2020 at 1:54 pm

The owners of this mosaic have demonstrated who they are. Tax records show Nichols and his wife were paid almost $220,000 between them in 2018, more than 30 percent of the charity’s total revenue that year.
OB . . . Beware.


Frank Gormlie February 12, 2020 at 10:44 pm

The city of Encinitas and the charity in charge of the popular Surfing Madonna mosaic appear to have formally parted ways.

After weeks of acrimony that began with a dispute over lifeguard fees, the City Council has withdrawn consideration of any future permits for beach runs hosted by the Surfing Madonna Oceans Project, the nonprofit that owns the 10-foot artwork.

The decision, announced late Tuesday by city spokesman Paul Brencick, means next month’s Encinitas Half-Marathon & 5K will be the last event the Surfing Madonna Oceans Project will sponsor in the beachside community.


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