Photo: Surfing Virgin Of Encinitas
Encinitas, CA residents in bogus construction worker uniforms installed a 10x10 foot stained glass mosaic of La Señora, riding a surf board a few days before Easter.
Since the Easter appearance of this artwork that celebrates surfing culture, the Virgin Mary and ocean conservation, all at the same time, calls have been pouring into the office of Encinitas Councilman Jerome Stocks, some begging the official to not take down the luscious stained glass piece, some calling for the immediate destruction of a blasphemous image that defaces public property.
Stocks, who used to be a cartoonist said he likes the piece himself, but a religious artwork on public property invites lawsuits, and from a strictly political standpoint, the piece must go.
“Chances are if we don’t take this down — if someone puts a loving, glowing mosaic of Hitler or Osama Bin Laden across the street — then how could we take that one down?” he said.
There’s a problem with taking it down. “It looks pretty darn permanent to me,” said Encinitas Councilwoman Teresa Barth. The mosaic seems to be fixed to plaster boards, which in turn have been glued to the concrete wall with an epoxy kind of fixative.
“That’s consistent with guerilla art and its confrontation with the establishment,” Stocks said.
“It’s so beautiful and so well done that I wish they would take it to the (city) arts commission and give it a chance before they take it down,” said Beverly Goodman, who deals similar Lady Guadalupe art out of her store, Coast Highway Traders in downtown Encinitas.
Father Brian Corcoran of Saint John Parish said the artwork was “inspiring” and hopes city officials leave it where it is. He also insisted in removing it with care and installing it in his at his St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church about a mile up Encinitas Boulevard, if it is ruled that it must be taken down.
“It is a great representation of God being close to us,” he said.
Encinitas is itself a quirky town when it comes to public art, and art in general. “It’s so Encinitas,” said Linda Conover, who owns Leucadia Pizzeria across the street. “It just makes me feel good when I drive by it every day.”
Another resident Grace Parsons said she’d like the city to keep it in place and protect it with Plexiglas.
Jack Quick, a Encinitas arts supply store owner, said he saw the group of hard-hatted men installing the piece. He estimated the piece cost at least $1,000 in materials and at least a 100 hours of labor to put it together.
Howard Whitlock, the city’s Assistant Superintendent of Public Works, said the public works department would do its best to not to damage the mosaic if it is decided it must come down.
We are just left wondering…. What Would Jesus Do?