Just a walk away from iconic attractions Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Old Fisherman’s Wharf and the spectacular Monterey Bay will soon be the newly renovated Monterey Conference Center. Greeting visitors as they walk onto the sparkling new plaza at the Conference Center will be a contemporary, stainless steel school of fish and streams of water. The large scale sculpture was generously donated by the Monterey Marriott and Portola Hotel & Spa, which adjoin the Conference Center.

John Dotto, owner of Monterey-based Metal Specialties, was commissioned to design and fabricate the sculpture, which will be among the new features. Dotto says he was inspired by the architecture of the new Conference Center as well as the destination’s breathtaking coastline and maritime history.

“I wanted to blend Monterey’s traditional maritime feel with a more contemporary approach and create a sculpture that will be interesting and inspire people to visit the Monterey Conference Center,” says Dotto. “I created something organic, a piece that reflects light and captures movement as well as history. The intent was to create something that could become emblematic of Monterey.”

The large scale sculpture will be approximately 17 feet in diameter and 4 feet high. Each of the 1,400 fish will be about 12 to 14 inches in length and welded together at the company’s location on Del Monte Avenue in Monterey. Dotto is also working in collaboration with locally-based Aqua-Jett Systems, which will be incorporating the water features.

“We have a family business here in Monterey, and this is our home. My hope is that I have created a sculpture that our community can be proud of,” says Dotto.

“This sculpture will fit in perfectly with the architecture and feel of the new Monterey Conference Center and our destination as a whole,” says Doug Phillips, General Manager of the Monterey Conference Center. “We have such an incredible coastal location, and it is our hope that visitors to the Conference Center will walk away feeling inspired, invigorated and refreshed.”

The new sculpture will be joining the refurbished bronze statue of Don Gaspar de Portola, the first governor of California. The statue, sculpted by Fausto Blazquez, was donated by King Juan Carlos I of Spain to the City of Monterey in 1978. The "Two Dolphins" sculpture by Big Sur artist Emile Norman will also be returning to the Conference Center. The impressive 9-foot tall piece is composed of thousands of pieces of inlaid wood and was originally unveiled in 1981. In addition, the 36-foot ceramic tile “Monterey Mural” will also be on display once again on the corner of Pacific Street and Del Monte Avenue. The festive mural, which consists of more than 600 handmade tiles, was created by artist Guillermo “Bill” Wagner Granizo and depicts the rich history of Monterey.