LA JOLLA -- The iconic Scripps Pier stretches more than 1,000 feet over the ocean at La Jolla Shores.
It also serves as a starting point for a new mosaic that maps the wildlife in and around the 1,900-foot deep canyons under the water.
Over the last year, four artists have laid down upwards of 500,000 pieces of glass and porcelain. They created a 2,400 square-foot mosaic that shows everything from fish to stingrays to whales.
"When someone sees something and loves it, they want to know more about it, and they also want to protect it," said Wick Alexander, one of the artists.
On Tuesday, the artists held an open house to view the mosaic. It's now tucked away inside a building in the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. In a few months, crews plan to install it at Kellogg Park at the Shores, a spot a smaller mosaic once occupied. That mosaic, installed in 2008, began crack and was removed.
Alexander says the new one will be able to last a lot longer.
Renowned oceanographer Walter Munk, one of the project's main backers, said he hopes the mosaic makes a lasting impression.
"People who don't dive and who don't really realize can get a chance to see what's going on," he said.
Munk and his wife Mary donated more than $300,000 to the project. They hope to raise another $200,000 through the Walter Munk Foundation to pay for the rest of the piece and the installation, which could happen in the next few months.