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Millison’s latest utility box painting has dolphin theme

(May 22, 2015) Katelyn Millison was back in Ocean City last weekend to paint a dolphin-themed utility box downtown, this time on the corner of Dorchester Street and Baltimore Ave.

The Ocean City Development Corporation intends to have numerous dolphin-related activities this summer to highlight the new “Dance of Dolphins” sculpture. It was installed last month on Route 90 and Coastal Highway.

“OCDC is fortunate that Katelyn was able to come back to Ocean City to complete another utility box,” said Glenn Irwin, executive director of the Ocean City Development Corporation. “She is a very talented artist and we are very pleased with her paintings.”

Millison shows different perspectives of sea life on the utility box including a dolphin jumping out of the water, a variety of underwater creatures including starfish, crabs, sea grass and corals with a pop of color among a relaxing sea of blue.

“On each box I do like to focus on one specific type of theme animal,” Millison said. “It’s important to show the world how much beauty the ocean has to offer and the need to conserve it.”

Her public art display is right next to the Bank of Ocean City, which is sponsoring the painting along with Executive Vice President Reid Tingle.

For the first time, a paint company, Sherwin Williams, on 119th Street, has donated the paint and supplies, Irwin said.

When Millison was 15, she became very sick and suffered constantly from chronic pain. She painted for three years to stay positive and get through the tough times. Her natural talent in painting was discovered during her sophomore year of high school.

“My artwork helped me emotionally throughout my sickness,” Millison said.

The Children’s Medical Center in Washington, D.C. changed Millison’s life when she met Dr. Matthew Oetgen. He was able to diagnose her problem and help with the path to recovery.

Shortly after recovery, Millison started a program called “Painting for Patients.” She works on murals around the hospital, donates paintings and art supplies to the patients.

“‘Painting for Patients’ is a way to give back to the Children’s Medical Center and thank them for everything they have done for me,” Millison said. “Children who are battling pain like I was will have something to lift their spirits and help with the hard times.”

In addition, she has started painting individualized, personal projects for patients.

A patient in remission with Leukemia said the color orange and monkeys were her favorites. So, Millison painted an orange sunset with a jungle theme that incorporated monkeys and the little girl loved it.

Another woman was having some chronic pain after being hit by a drunk driver and Millison knew Ocean City was a special place for her so she painted a depiction of the town to boost her spirits.

This past January, the 19-year-old became Miss Baltimore after winning the Miss Frederick title last year. She has a one-in-24 shot of being crowned Miss Maryland in June and the chance to compete for Miss America.

“I have loved being Miss Baltimore, it has opened doors for community service at Ronald McDonald House, Believe in Tomorrow and Johns Hopkins. ‘Painting for Patients’ has exploded and taken off,” she said.

This summer, Millison plans on painting for the Believe in Tomorrow condos on 66th Street in Ocean City and Baltimore.

To help make children feel better with her paintings, it’s important for Millison to make contacts by meeting doctors and people in charge in order to collaborate with the hospitals locally. Winning Miss Baltimore has given her opportunities to meet people who will help her expand “Painting for Patients.” 

“My goal is if I win Miss Maryland, I want to have some kind of mural in each hospital in the state of Maryland,” she said.

After being the youngest member to be inducted into the Ocean Artists Society (OAS), Millison has the talent and creativity.

Wyland, one of OAS founders and a renowned marine life artist, is one of Millison’s inspirations for her paintings and ocean conservation.

Ocean Artists Society’s slogan could not describe Millison’s vision any clearer, “Using ocean art to inspire people around the world to a greater awareness of our need to preserve our natural world.” 

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