Surfing Madonna Homeless Again

State rejects statue location, saying the statue's location is unconstitutional on state property

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Gene Cubbison reports

    The Surfing Madonna mosaic in Encinitas is searching for a home -- again.

    The State Parks Department rejected the proposed location of the mosaic under Highway 101 -- which is part California property and part Encinitas property.

    Both municipalities had a say in the location. Encinitas approved the location in January.

    A spokesperson for the Parks Department said the rejection was advised by the State Attorney General's office, which issued an opinion saying the mosaic violated the California Constitution's no-preference clause.

    The clause states that it is illegal to display a religious symbol on public land.

    Now, the 10-foot-by-10-foot mosaic -- which appeared under a railroad bridge on Encinitas Blvd. in April 2011-- will have to find another location.

    It is unclear at this time where the mosaic will find a home now that the Highway 101 location has been ruled out.

    When the mosaic was installed, it created a buzz among onlookers who questioned the origin and the artist's intention.

    Saying it was an unauthorized piece of public art, city officials threatened to strip it from the underpass an act that would destroying it.

    To prevent its destruction, the secretive artist Mark Patterson stepped forward to claim the surfing Madonna as his own. He paid for the removal in June and began looking for a place to reinstall her.