Surfing Madonna mosaic draws following in US

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05:50 AM June 8th, 2011

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June 8th, 2011 05:50 AM

Art restorers Andrea Morse, below, and Andrew Smith, both of Los Angeles, test the possibility of removing the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe riding a surfboard from under a train overpass without damaging the artwork Tuesday, June 7, in Encinitas, Calif. Morse was hired by the city to test the artwork for removal and give a report. The unauthorized artwork is drawing a mass following, and even city officials who say she must go say they too have been taken by her. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

ENCINITAS, California — A mosaic of a surfing Madonna that is stuck to a wall under a train bridge in the California beach city of Encinitas is technically graffiti under the law.

But her beauty is drawing a mass following, and city officials have spent thousands hiring an art agency to see about removing her without causing damage.

The Los Angeles-based art conservation agency, Sculpture Conservation Studio, on Tuesday began testing ways to safely remove the 10-by-10-foot (3-by-3-meter) rock and glass mosaic. But it concluded in a recent report that there’s no better spot for the Surfing Madonna than under the overpass, protected from the sun and rain.

Mystery artists disguised as construction workers attached the mosaic to the concrete wall in April. They used a strong epoxy glue.

The mayor says the artwork will go to a local, private business where it can still be easily viewed.

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