The art conservationists paid by the city of Encinitas to figure out how to remove the “Surfing Madonna” mosaic mural found out yesterday that the piece is stickier than they thought.

From the Union-Tribune’s Jonathan Horn:

The mosaic is not glued with epoxy to the concrete wall as originally thought. It’s bolted with even potentially a mounting system built specifically for the bridge.

Encinitas municipal code classifies the piece as graffiti, since the city didn’t commission or approve it, and the City Council said the mural has to come down from the train bridge. More from the U-T:

But that task has been complicated by the fact that it has grown incredibly popular. In response, the city is trying to determine if it can be saved while removing it. Encinitas paid Sculpture Conservation Studio from Los Angeles $2,000 in taxpayer money to study how it could be taken down.

City Councilman Jerome Stocks, himself an artist, said he likes the piece but its religious symbolism on public property could leave the city open to lawsuits, and the piece could set a precedent for future city legal action against taggers and graffiti artists.

What do you think the city should do? Leave a comment here or on our Behind the Scene Facebook page, where reader Jeannette Shin weighed in this morning that she thinks the city should leave the mural as is.

I am the arts editor for VOSD. You can reach me directly at or 619.325.0531. Or you can keep up with me on Twitter @kellyrbennett or on Facebook.

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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