The Mansfield Art Center would like to congratulate James Mellick, Ohio wood artist, on his recent win at the 8th Annual Grand Rapids ArtPrize event, winning the $200,000 Grand Prize for his Wounded Warrior Dogs installation, which the public voted for using their smartphones. The collection of seven life-size wooden sculptures represent the sacrifices made by wounded military veterans with each sculpture portraying a dog with some of the same wounds and rehabilitation limitations suffered by their veteran counterparts.

“Some people think I created this body of work to honor dogs that have seen military service,” Mellick, 69, says. “But that’s only part of the story. What I hope to do with my Wounded Warrior Dogs installation is tell stories about soldiers through the dogs. There’s a saying that when a dog dies, it takes a piece of your heart. That’s even more true when soldiers and their dogs are separated after they’ve been through thick and thin on the battlefield.” 1

Held annually in Grand Rapids, Michigan, ArtPrize is an open international art competition, where winners are decided proportionately by public vote and expert jurors. This year’s ArtPrize awards amounted to $500,000 in prize money and 2016 marked its 8th art competition, which for the past two years has attained status of the most attended art event in the world. 2 Mellick’s installation won the most votes from visitors than any other in the competition; our hats go off to him for winning this honorable and prestigious award!

His work has been exhibited at the Mansfield Art Center in years past, the Spoke in Wood Exhibition, and Best of Ohio Designer Craftsman. He is a fine master craftsman and a member of the Ohio Crafts Museum (Columbus). His Wounded Warrior Dogs will be a solo showcase at OCM February 5 – March 26, 2017.

Mellick is recently retired from Cedarville University, where he taught for six years, and lives with his wife on their farm, Hardwood Studio and Farm, near Marysville, Ohio. As an artist and retired educator, Jim continues to mentor earnest students, who in turn help on his farm, where eighty percent of produce is donated to a food pantry. 3