GRAND RAPIDS, MI – James Mellick's "Wounded Warrior Dogs" captured the hearts of ArtPrize voters – and a $200,000 grand prize.
The work, on display at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, 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.
"The dogs are intended to be symbolic of the sacrifice and exhibit the same wounds as their human companions in battle," reads the artist's statement. "The seventh dog, under the flag, made the ultimate sacrifice."
Mellick, of Milford Center, Ohio, created the work in tribute to military veterans, and intends to exhibit it to raise donations for wounded-warrior organizations.
The entry also earned the most votes in its category, 3-D. But per ArtPrize rules, winning the grand prize automatically forfeits the $12,500 category award.
The winners of ArtPrize 2016 were revealed Friday, Oct. 7, at the official ArtPrize Awards ceremony. Between the public vote and juried awards, a total of $487,500 in prizes were given away.
Event organizers said 37,433 registered visitors cast 380,119 votes.
Three other public-vote winners in categories scored $12,500 prizes each.
"Sweeper's Clock," a 12-hour video in which men swept garbage in lines forming clock hands moving in real time, won the in the time-based category. The entry, by Maarten Baas of Den Bosch, North Brabant, Netherlands, is notable for being the only ArtPrize entry to make both the public-vote and juried finalist category lists. It is on display at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.
"Portraits of Light and Shadow," by Joao Paolo Goncalves of Pompano Beach, Florida, won in the 2-D category. Located in DeVos Place Convention Center, the piece features "pixel portraits," made of angled wood, depicting Martin Luther King Jr., Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, and Vermeer's Girl with the Pearl Earring. Without strategic lighting, the work is abstract. ArtPrizers were invited to flip a switch shining a light on each portrait, revealing its subject.
Winning in the installation category was "The Butterfly Effect," by Allison Leigh Smith and Bryce Pettit of Durango, Colorado. The work consists of 1,234 bronze Monarch butterflies, which fill a large corner of the skywalk within DeVos Place.
All ArtPrize venues will remain open through Sunday, Oct. 9 at 6 p.m.
Leading the juried winners with a $200,000 awards was "The Bureau of Personal Belonging," by Stacey Kirby. Five other category juried awards were also handed out Friday.