The Coast News Group
Several mosaic designs by students at Paul Ecke Central Elementary School for the El Portal Undercrossing. Screenshots
Several mosaic designs by students at Paul Ecke Central Elementary School for the El Portal Undercrossing. Screenshots

Encinitas appoints new Youth Commission, approves El Portal mosaic

The Encinitas City Council on May 10 appointed new Youth Commission members and approved mosaic designs for the El Portal Undercrossing.

Every year, the city searches to fill nine seats on the Youth Commission reserved for adolescents from grades 7-12. The annual recruitment for board members began with the city advertising it on its website, social media, and school emails and posting it on City Hall’s bulletin board.

Ultimately, the search drew 11 applicants, a combination of new and familiar faces to the Youth Commission.

Each applicant gave a speech to City Council before making a final decision. Starting July 1, the newest Youth Commission members are Sarah Charles, Quade Kelley, Benjamin Su, Harrison Kessler, and Willem Ryan, along with returning members David Leschensky, Carter Ballow, Colin Ballow, and Sofia Gonzalez.

The current Youth Commission members’ terms end on June 3.

Along with the appointments, Campana Studios gave a brief presentation on mosaic designs for the El Portal Undercrossings by students at Paul Ecke Central School.

The project was appropriated $129,800 and approved in June 2021, including artist fees of $115,000 and a contingency of $14,800. An additional $20,000 for the future installation of the artwork was approved in October 2022. Further bids are being asked to help further cover the installation cost.

Campana Studios was awarded this project in the fall of 2022. Since then, the nonprofit organization has worked with students on creating personalized mosaic designs using recycled materials, such as broken plates and shells.

Led by local artist Jerm Wright, the school is designing and fabricating around 300 feet of tile mosaics for 17 panels, a 6-inch tile ribbon, and two cairns at the El Portal Undercrossing.

Each design is inspired by a specific piece of Encinitas history, including a Rancho Coastal view of Leucadia, Roy’s Market, and the Flower Festival Parade from the ’60s and ’70s.

“We were very aware that we can’t have words in this project, so we really tried to make, especially when we got to the cityscape, the iconic architecture of the area, and the history of Encinitas,” Wright said.

City Council approved the mosaic designs and a motion to create a documentary to memorialize the artwork and installation process.