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Prize-winning sculptures 'Wounded War Dogs' to go on display at Marine museum

James Mellick’s “Wounded Warrior Dogs,” which won the hearts of ArtPrize voters in 2016, will be on display at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE MARINE CORPS

By SASHA ZIDAR | MLive.com, Walker, Mich. | Published: May 8, 2019

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Tribune News Service) — A series of sculptures that captured the 2016 ArtPrize public vote will soon be on display at the National Museum of the Marine Corps at Triangle, Virginia.

James Mellick’s “Wounded Warrior Dogs” won the hearts of ArtPrize voters — and a $200,000 grand prize — in 2016. It will be on display at the Marine Corps museum from May 18 through Sept. 30.

The work is a series of six wood-carved dogs, all wounded or rehabilitated and representing wartime service. They circle a small coffin draped in an American flag.

Mellick, of Milford Center, Ohio, created the work in tribute to military veterans, and exhibits it to raise donations for wounded-warrior organizations. The sculptures will be displayed as part of the exhibit “War Dogs" at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

Also in the exhibit will be the beginning of a new series, “War Stories,” which tells the stories of soldier dog handlers and military working dogs who have made great sacrifices for their country.

“The long process of designing, laminating, carving, and finishing the wood means that I have to see the idea or statement worth the time and significance. I have to work with a certain sense of conviction,” Mellick said.

Starting in 2015, Mellick spent 14 months creating the Wounded Warrior Dogs without a regular income, funding the project by poster sales and sculpture commissions.

The Wounded Warrior Dog Project was shown in 2015 and 2017 at the Ohio State Fair, where it won a People’s Choice Award, The Vietnam Dog Handlers Reunion in Nashville, The Keeter Center of the College of the Ozarks, the Canton Museum of Art, the Ohio Craft Museum and the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, North Carolina. It also was featured in Ohio Magazine and The Bark.

Mellick is an honorary member of the Vietnam Dog Handlers Association, and in 2016 received a Commendation of Service from the Ohio state senate.

“Contemporary medical technology and triage in the field has more veterans surviving with injuries that would have been fatal in previous wars," said Mellick. "In my limited and small way, I want to pay tribute to the soldiers who served with great sacrifice by creating the sculptural allegory of wounded warrior dogs who were the soldier’s best friend and companion in battle.”

©2019 MLive.com, Walker, Mich.

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