Sculptor P. Joseph Mullins was born March 15, 1941, in Charleston. He graduated from Stonewall Jackson High School and served two years in the army infantry. He earned a bachelor’s degree in art from Morris Harvey College (now University of Charleston) and a master of fine arts degree from Ohio University.
In the late 1960s, Mullins worked as an urban planner for the Governor’s Office of Federal and State Relations. He later served as executive director of Mountain Artisans Inc. From 1977 to 1984, he was executive director of the Parkersburg Arts Center.
In 1987, Mullins’s entry won the West Virginia Veterans’ Memorial design competition. Work on the $3.8 million project was completed in 1999. Mullins conducted extensive research for the memorial project. He interviewed combat veterans, read war books, traveled to Vietnam twice, and consulted with museum curators, uniform supply houses, and others. The memorial at the state capitol features four bronze figures—a World War I infantryman, a World War II sailor, a Korean airman, and a Vietnam War marine. The memorial’s black granite walls bear the names of more than 10,300 West Virginians who died in the four U.S. wars of the 20th century.
He created a bronze statue to honor female West Virginia veterans, which sparked some controversy. The design for the statue was unveiled in 2003, but some female veterans said it was not feminine enough. Finally, in 2010, the work went on display on the state capitol campus near the Veterans’ Memorial.
Mullins’s work also includes commissions for the University of Charleston, churches, and individuals.
Last Revised on October 20, 2010