Arts Programming

Reinforcing our Commitment

Surfing Madonna Oceans Project is a 501c3 nonprofit based in Encinitas, California and was officially formed in 2013 by Robert Nichols and Mark Patterson (artist of the Surfing Madonna mosaic). The specific purpose for forming the nonprofit was to conserve, maintain and promote the public display of art and to promote environmental conservation efforts.

Future projects include partnerships with local arts groups, support for Arts Alive banners, direct awards to local artists, a series of articles in local news outlets promoting the arts, programming events for the public to experience local artists through shows, readings, performances and more.

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Surfing Madonna Local Artists Award Winner -
Musician Steve Denyes

"Winter Songs" 

Live Streamed concert on Facebook

December 21, 2020

For roughly 30 years, San Diego resident Steve Denyes has stolen the hearts of children and adults alike with his catchy, upbeat tunes. In fact, the musician behind the popular Hullabaloo band, was playing roughly 300 shows a year before the novel coronavirus made its way to the U.S.

This year, Denyes is playing one virtual show a month and a “couple of socially-distanced house concerts.”

“COVID has turned everything upside down for me professionally,” said Denyes, who said one of his biggest inspirations is children’s performer Dan Zanes. “It’s difficult financially, of course, but, more than anything, I miss the daily connection I used to have with people all over the county. I know it’ll come back eventually but I miss the interaction with the families I’ve been singing with for years.”

Despite the hardships, Denyes said musicians will find a way to overcome the current challenges facing the entertainment industry.

Surfing Madonna wanted to extend Steve a helping hand, and the feedback from this concert was that his upbeat show helped a lot of people feel better at a very difficult time. That's what the arts do for us, and at Surfing Madonna we want to keep inviting the community to explore our incredibly talented local community of creative people. 


Surfing Madonna Local Artists Award Winner - David Reed

"Uphill and Into the Wind"

Autobiography of a cross country bike trip in the mid 70's

“Surfing Madonna Oceans Project is a community arts organization. We want to support local authors and artists, especially now, with that group being economically impacted so harshly by the pandemic. By hosting a reading of David’s book, and distributing books, we want to call attention to a bright light in our community and applaud his creative effort. The book is a wonderful showcase of being awake and alive in nature and being inspired by the renewal of energy everyone can find there. Part of our mission is to bring awareness to the environment, to help people establish links to enjoying the outdoors.”

Today David Reed is an award-winning San Diego landscape architect. He has spent a lifetime studying the natural world, inspired from his youth in the woods, his University training, his apprenticeship as a stonemason, his travels on a bicycle, and his designs on the land. He re-designed four major gardens in San Diego’s jewel, Balboa Park.


Book Reading at Madonna Park

As part of the award Surfing Madonna purchased a number of books for local distribution through the Little Free Library at Surfing Madonna Park, located at Leucadia Pizzeria and the intersection of Highway 101 and Encinitas boulevard.

Surfing Madonna will also be hosting David Reed for an author reading at Surfing Madonna Park on Saturday November 7 from 2 to 4pm.  Due to social distancing protocols, this is not open to the public, but will be videotaped and viewable online at

An additional enjoyment of the book can be had by checking out the QR code on the book at his website. Long before the cell phone, Reed carried fifteen pounds of camera gear to document his trip. He has nearly 170 color photos, keyed to the story, and maps, which can be seen there in addition to the video of the book reading at Surfing Madonna Park. 

The story takes place in 1973, with the U. S. and the White House in turmoil, and David Reed wants out. He leaves everything he knows to cross the United States with little more than his bicycle and camera. He embarks on his bike and hike odyssey from the Garden State to the Golden Gate recounting a journey that spans 5,420 miles, eleven crossings of the Continental Divide and two months hiking in the great National Parks.


Kevin Anderson, Encinitas Artist

Beautiful underwater seascape mural at Surfing Madonna Park

You've seen his work all over Encinitas, Solana Beach and North County San Diego! Surfing Madonna commissioned Kevin to paint a utility box below the mosaic. Completed in 2019,  it is a beloved addition to the mosaic artwork and Surfing Madonna Park!


Water Safety
Coloring Books

Working Towards a Brighter Future

We believe that when people are able to enjoy the ocean, they are more likely to want to protect it. It’s also important that people enjoy the ocean safely. Towards that aim, we support an incredible program at the YMCA that teaches youth with special needs how to swim.  We have also created a Water Safety Coloring book and complimentary curriculum that is offered free of charge to local elementary schools. Everyone should have the ability to enjoy the ocean safely, and these efforts support that
To date, we have donated $36,000 to the Paul Ecke YMCA Aquatic Programs for Children with Special Needs. In addition to teaching participants to swim, this program gives them opportunities to create friendships, gain a sense of independence, build confidence, strengthen weak muscles, improve body in space awareness, and more. We are proud to partner with the YMCA and support this life-changing program.
The Surfing Madonna Ocean’s Project Water Safety Coloring Books were created with collaborative efforts by the Encinitas Life Saving Association, Artist Kyle Bowen, and our local life guards. The purpose of the book is to teach kids about ocean and pool safety, as well as marine life, and the importance of keeping our beaches and oceans clean and protected. There is also complimentary curriculum focused on water safety, marine life and ocean stewardship. Surfing Madonna team members and volunteers visit local classrooms and present this curriculum along with the book. In the US the second leading cause of death for children under 14 is drowning. We are fortunate to live in an area with an abundance of beaches and pools, but with that good fortune comes an increase in our risk. This book is a tool to help us create more ocean advocates, and more importantly, to keep them safe.


Ocean Life Mosaic

Recently unveiled, this magnificent 8ft by 15ft seamless glass mosaic depicting our local marine habitat complete with kelp, stingrays, porpoises, sea lions and more has become an instant iconic landmark for Encinitas! This gorgeous piece of art is on display on the new Marine Safety Center at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas.

“This is a long awaited piece of art” said Bob Nichols, President of the Surfing Madonna Oceans Project. “Our beach community needs more ocean art. This mosaic will have a legend on the side, so children and beach goers of all ages can learn all about what sea life lives just yards off of our shore. We feel if people are educated about our ocean, they will respect and love it more.”


Pictured below are the community helpers learning to make a mosaic!

The concept was developed by President Robert Nichols.

The Creative Illustrator was Peggy Sue Zepeda, the mosaic was constructed by Don Myers Stained Glass shop in Oceanside and the 100+ volunteers in the community helped cut, shape and glue the glass down.

Don Myers invited the community to come out and help with the creation of the mosaic!