Public art using surfboards as flower petals is nearly ready to bloom as the finishing touches are being put on a community mosaic mural to revitalize the 65-year-old Pacific Beach Rec Center.
Known as the Pacific Beach Community Surf Garden, the project has been conducted for several weeks with volunteer workshops at the Rec Center at 1405 Diamond St. next to PB Middle School.
“The art is almost done, the tiling is finished, and it went great: It was amazing and we had tons of (volunteer) turnout,” said muralist Rob Tobin, who’s directed volunteers in crushing ceramic tiles before mixing mortar and setting the tiles down on donated surfboards. “We’re waiting to get the final paperwork through the City, so we can’t set a (dedication) date yet.”
The muralist and his helpers got 64 donated surfboards tiled. “We’re in the planning stages for the install, which hopefully will be next month (November),” Tobin said adding, “We will have a boom lift for the installation.”
Of the impact of the surf flower he has created for the Rec Center building, Tobin noted, “It’s going to be dazzling day and night when you see light flickering on it.”
The project has taken about 10 weeks to execute with some 150 volunteers donating their time. “I was surprised at the diversity of our volunteers who came out,” Tobin admitted. “We had families. We had lots of retired folks. We had school kids getting their community service hours. That was neat, the enthusiasm of people. Many of them just came upon us working as they were passing by and said, ‘Oh, I’ve got a surfboard to donate.’ Or, ‘Can I help?’ That was fun.”
The PB Town Council is working with Tobin to beautify the Rec Center. Brian Curry, a town council member, and local business owner said there is much to do yet before the project is done.
“We continue our fund-raising, which is our main emphasis right now,” said Curry. “We have not yet hit our goal, so we continue to actively pursue and welcome all donors. Donors get a personalized tile that will be permanently installed on the mosaic mural. It’s a great opportunity for friends, family, businesses, memorials, clubs, etc. We are now starting on donor tiles and finalizing permitting with the city.”
Added Curry, “We are also working on a much-needed landscape plan for the north side of the recreation center and in front of the community surf garden mural-mosaic in particular. It is incredible the community participation we have seen for the Pacific Beach Community Surf Garden project. Hopefully, the City will expedite the permitting given the art is being donated into the City’s Civic Art Collection. Install and dedication ceremony dates are to follow once we get through the final permitting with the City.”
There will be five tax-deductible sponsorship levels for surf tile ranging from $50 to $5,000. The more someone donates, the bigger the personal tile they will be entitled to.
The art project was estimated initially to cost about $50,000.
Tobin concluded it was a fun and fulfilling project to be a part of.
“It’s been very smooth, very fun, and it’s gonna show in the final result,” he said. “I’m looking forward to installing it, which will take about two days, and having the community come out for a dedication party. We’re still selling sponsor tiles to raise more money to pay for some landscaping in front of it.
People can still donate at pbtowncouncil.org to get a surfboard-shaped tile with their name on it on the wall.”