Save the Ocean mosaic—otherwise known as —is one step closer to being put back on public display in Encinitas.
Monday night, the Encinitas Commission for the Arts agreed to form an ad hoc committee to review Patterson’s the mosaic at , near the northwest corner of Coast Highway 101 and Encinitas Boulevard. Patterson is offering to loan the mosaic to the city of Encinitas for an extended period of time, though it's still undecided just how long that loan would last.
“We are here today to offer you, with your support, the 'Save the Ocean' mosaic to the city of Encinitas under a long-term loan agreement,” said Patterson, reading from a written statement to the commission. “This agreement will allow the city of Encinitas to publicly display the ‘Save the Ocean’ mosaic in a prominent location all citizens and visitors of Encinitas to view and enjoy."
Patterson's proposal will now go to an ad-hoc committee, which is comprised of commissioners Tim Lueker, Ron Lemen and Dody Crawford. The ad-hoc committe will develop a plan and recommendation. Once complete, the arts commission will vote on a recommendation to City Council on whether to accept or deny the proposed loan of art. The item will then be agendized for a City Coucil meeting so Council can make a final decision.
Patterson under a railroad bridge on Encinitas Boulevard in April. The mosaic depicting the Virgin of Guadalupe on a surfboard became wildly popular, even inspiring songs, a , and T-shirts. However, because Patterson did not have the city's permission to place his artwork on public property, he was ordered to . Since then, there has been to bring the artwork back to the public domain.
After the commissioners agreed to review his proposal, a visibly delighted Patterson presented them with a small token of his appreciation, a painting of his mosaic. But Patterson wasn't the only one pleased with the outcome. The commission's decision was met with applause from a small audience of the artist's supporters. Among them was Maureen Gaare, the former chairwoman of the Parks and Recreation Commission, who showed her support by wearing a T-shirt with the mosaic printed on it and addressing the commission.
“[Patterson’s plan] fulfills the many aspects of the mission statement of Encinitas’ Parks and Recreation Commission,” Gaare said. “Some of the things it fulfills, from the mission statement, is to enhance the quality of life in the city of Encinitas by providing quality and accessible recreation and leisure and generates a sense of pride in our community … as well as acknowledges the importance of our environment in the city and all aspects of our lives.”
After exiting Encinitas City Hall, Patterson said he felt supported by the commission's decision.
“I thought the commission was very interested in what I had to say and I was really grateful to them for listening, and it’s been a long process,” Patterson said. “It’s going to be a long process to get to the contingency of putting the mosaic back up.”
Patterson’s fight to display his artwork back in Encinitas' public domain is far from over. The location at Moonlight Beach that is on property that is owned by the state and maintained by the city. That means before the Surfing Madonna could be displayed there, the Encinitas City Council and state agencies would have to give approval.
Patterson hopes to see the Surfing Madonna returned to public view as early as next June to coincide with the city's opening of major improvements about to begin construction elsewhere at Moonlight Beach state park.