Renovation Update: Fusing Monterey’s Maritime History with Contemporary Public Art Guest Post by Nancy Williams, Monterey Conference Center Director of Sales & Events

Slated for completion this summer, the highly anticipated, newly renovated Monterey Conference Center will soon be boasting a spectacular new piece of public art. Greeting visitors as they walk onto the sparkling new plaza at the Conference Center and Portola Hotel & Spa, will be a new, contemporary stainless steel sculpture featuring a school of fish and streams of water. The large-scale sculpture generously donated by a $130,000 contribution from the adjoining Portola Hotel & Spa and neighboring, Monterey Marriott, will become one the newest examples of public art in Downtown Monterey.

Inspired Character Images for the Portola Plaza Fountian

John Dotto, owner of Monterey-based Metal Specialties, was commissioned to design and fabricate the sculpture. 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 new sculpture on the plaza 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.

Textures and Materials used for the Inspiration for the Portola Plaza Fountain

“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.”

Nighttime Rendering of the Portola Plaza Fountain

Read more about the new, highly-anticipated Monterey Conference Center.

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