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    Posted April 30, 2011 by
    gailpowell
    Location
    Encinitas, California
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    Lady Madonna of the Overpass is No Easter Apparition!

     

    Just before Easter Sunday and notably-Earth Day, "guerilla artists" descended on a busy street in Encinitas, CA.. Audaciously-dressed as construction workers. the men quickly installed a 10-foot-square  stained-glass mosaic below a railroad  overpass. It has now come to be known as the Surfing Madonna.

     

    The colorful Madonna-Our Lady of Guadalupe is pictured surfing and. “Save the Ocean”  runs along the side of the mural. At the front of her surfboard "is the  face of Saint Juan Diego who, according to legend, saw the Virgin Mary  near Mexico City in 1531.  The mosaic seems to be affixed to 5-foot by 5-foot plaster boards and then glued to the concrete bridge wall," according to a report on signonsandiego.com.

     

    I made a pilgrimage to the Madonna  today and was surprised yet pleased how prominent the artwork looks on the busy and congested thoroughfare of Encintas Blvd.-a street that leads to a freeway onramp to Interstate 5. The vibrant colors and eclectic textures show this piece of "spontaneous public art" to be more than just the usual hastily painted street graffiti. In fact, citizens and art lovers rode to the rescue as Encintas city officials lost no time in decrying the invasive Surfing Madonna.

     

    "It fits the definition of graffiti,” said Assistant City Manager Richard Phillips. "The city’s anti-graffiti ordinance is broad enough to  include more than just someone spray-painting a wall. Rather, it is  written to cover everything from advertising stickers to messages  scratched into surfaces" he was quoted as saying in a local newspaper. Additionally, City Manager Phillips claimed that the mosaic is considered "defacement of public property."

     

    But the community rose to the occasion and made their wishes known to town officials. Emails and phone calls of support flooded into Encinitas City Hall.  Father Brian Corcoran of nearby St. John Parish called the mosaic "inspiring"  and said he hopes it stays in place. But if it comes down, he’d be glad  to have it at his St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church about a mile  up Encinitas Blvd.  ”It is a great representation of God being  close to us,” Father Corcoran said.

     

    Dr. Anthony Corso wrote to the Coast Newspaper  comments section on Friday, Apr 29, "I consider this a great piece of sacred art. It has truly blessed  Encinitas with its evocative plea to Save the Ocean. It is more than just  another spray painting; it was obvious done with considerable devotion  and care." He added,

    "I trust that the City will do whatever it can to  preserve it from vandalism and not destroy it because some bureaucratic  rules and regulations."

    With Earth Day, Good Friday and Easter coming so close together this past year, it is fitting that events conspired in Encintas to place this beautiful piece of art in a public place with a message that no one can miss. Or easily dismiss.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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