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Surfing Madonna nonprofit gives money to support local artists in spirit of Mark Patterson’s artistic vision

Surfing Madonna Oceans Project
Standing in front of the Surfing Madonna artwork are, from left, Cathy Carey, president of the Surfing Madonna Oceans Project, Mike Redman, vice president of the Surfing Madonna Oceans Project, Danny Salzhandler, president of the 101 Artists’ Colony, Norma Salzhandler, Surfing Madonna board member, and Linda Bergen, treasurer of the 101 Artists’ Colony.
(Mike Redman)

The Surfing Madonna Oceans Project was officially established in 2014 by Robert Nichols and Mark Patterson, the artist who created the Surfing Madonna mosaic, which received considerable attention when it was installed anonymously in Encinitas

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The Surfing Madonna Oceans Project received a Community Enhancement Grant from Encinitas District 3 that enabled it to give $4,500 to the Encinitas-based nonprofit 101 Artists’ Colony to pay for some of the expenses of running the Arts Alive Banners project.

Last year’s Arts Alive Banners project included 22 original banners painted by area artists and hung up for display on light posts throughout the Cardiff Town Center and Cardiff Restaurant Row on Coast Highway 101. The two-month art display kicked off with the banner unveiling last fall at the Encinitas Heritage Park and lasted until the auction at Seaside Market in November.

The paintings were revealed to the public at the Unveiling Reception, where the first silent bids were made. Auctioneer Mike Redman led the auction and all of the banners were sold. The artists received 50 percent of the sale amount and the 101 Artists’ Colony received the other 50 percent to continue the Arts Alive program, which began about 20 years ago.

The nonprofit Surfing Madonna Oceans Project based in Encinitas supports local programs revolving around art, poetry and music exhibitions.

The nonprofit was officially established in 2014 by Robert Nichols and Mark Patterson, the artist who created the Surfing Madonna mosaic, which received considerable attention when it was installed anonymously under a train bridge in Encinitas several years earlier in 2011. The 10-by-10-foot stained-glassed tile mosaic shows the Lady of Guadalupe on a surfboard. “Save the ocean” is written on one side of the artwork.

The nonprofit, inspired by Patterson’s artistic vision and spirit of environmental preservation, “encourages us to share our skills and resources to promote public displays of artistic expression, create experiences of joy in natural environments, promote ocean awareness and save the ocean for all to enjoy,” according to the Surfing Madonna Oceans Project’s mission statement.

“We feel we are the connective tissue between the many wonderful arts organizations in Encinitas that may not have personnel to write grants for community arts programs. We bundle multiple arts projects into grant proposals to distribute funds to worthy projects like the Arts Alive Banners,” said Cathy Carey, president of the Surfing Madonna Oceans Project.

Among the programs the nonprofit supports are the Surfing Madonna Special Needs Surf Camp, Artist Awards typically of $500, and the “Ocean-Earth-Air” Art and Poetry Show set for April at the Poway Performing Arts Center.

To enter work in the show, visit surfingmadonna.org/artshow. To submit a proposal for an Artist Award, go to surfingmadonna.org/about.


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