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Millison spruces up Ocean City utility box with painting

(Oct. 24, 2014) Marine life and their seascapes is her expertise. From turtles to whales, Katelyn Millison’s artwork captures the eye and relieves her pain.

Millison has a complicated story for only being a teenager, but what brought her to the north corner of South Philadelphia Ave. and Talbot Street this past weekend to paint a utility box could not have come about any simpler.

Ocean City has been a vacation destination for the Millison family since Katelyn was a little girl.

“We come every summer and I love being here. It truly is my happy place to be by the ocean and marine life. I love observing and painting it,” said Millison.

One night, the Millison family went out to Captains Table on 15th Street in the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel for dinner and Katelyn showed the owner Lauren Taylor her artwork. Taylor introduced Millison to Glenn Irwin, the executive director of the Ocean City Development Corporation. The company oversees public art projects and Irwin thought Millison’s artwork would be perfect on a utility box.

Wayne Hartman loves street art and owns the building in front of the utility box Millison is painting and has supported her throughout this project.

Turtles are the theme for Millison’s public art display in Ocean City. Ocean conservation is a passion of Millison’s and she is a marine life artist who wants everyone to understand all the beauty the ocean has to offer.

“She has done a great job and is a wonderful artist. I am glad her artwork will be displayed in Ocean City,” said Irwin.

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,” said Millison.

The Children’s Medical Center in 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. Children who are battling pain like I was will have something to lift their spirits and help with the hard times,” said Millison.

Millison turned 19 a few weeks ago and is in her second year of college. She wants to be an anesthesiologist who specializes in pain management. After all of her painful surgeries, it is important for her to help others.

“I am tying together all three aspects of life I love; helping people medically, ocean conservation and painting,” said Millison.

 As if she could accomplish any more in her short 19 years, Millison was the youngest member to be inducted into the Ocean Artists Society (OAS). 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.” 

In addition, she was crowned Miss Frederick 2014.

“I am not a pageant girl, but Miss. Frederick has helped get me where I want to be and has led to amazing contacts,” she said.

Depending on weather conditions, Millison will be back to paint the final side of the utility box today.


Katelyn Millison paints a huge turtle swimming on a utility box in Ocean City at the corner of South Philadelphia Ave and Talbolt Street Friday, Oct 17.


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