The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is set to host the traveling exhibit “Wounded Warrior Dogs Project & K9 War Stories.”
Comprised of two installations, the exhibit features seven wounded warrior dogs and four canine war dogs.
The museum will show the display Feb. 15-May 10.
The Wounded Warrior Dogs Project received top ArtPrize honors in 2016. The new installation, K9 War Stories, tells the “true stories of courage and sacrifice of actual K9 teams during the Global War on Terror,” the museum said.
The project was designed by Ohio craftsman James Mellick.
“What I think is so poetic and so beautiful is this bond or melding that takes place between the handler and the dog of complete dependence, unconditional love and the will to survive in the most dire of situations among the two of them,” Mellick said.
Mellick, who spent 14 months creating Wounded Warrior Dogs, spends an average of 160 hours on each dog sculpture. He starts a small hand-sketch, enlarges it digitally, then cuts the drawing into patterns traced on blocks of wood. Mellick carves away the corners and starts shaping the sculpture, carving the heads, legs and tails separately before fastening them together at the end.
In 2016, Mellick’s project won the ArtPrize public vote and the $200,000 grand prize. The entry also earned the most votes in its category, 3-D.
Additionally, Mellick received a Commendation of Service from the Ohio state senate in the same year.
Since then, the exhibit has been featured at the Ohio Craft Museum, Southern Ohio Museum, Airborne and Special Operations Museum, National Museum of the Marine Corps and National Museum of the United States Air Force. It also has been featured in Ohio Magazine and The Bark.
Image courtesy Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum