Millicent a hive of activity

The sudden appearance of a massive beehive in Millicent’s main thoroughfare has created quite a “buzz”. It is actually a mural on an historic colonial-era building and was created over a six-day period by internationally renowned mural artist Mike Makatron.

The super-size beehive is suitable for the two-storied building as it has been known over the years by various names including Beehive Corner and Watts Corner. Mr Makatron devoted six full consecutive days to the mural with the finishing touches applied on Saturday.

He said the public reaction to his beehive mural had been “pretty positive” with many favourable comments from passersby. “Millicent is a strong community and everyone has been so hospitable to me,” Mr Makatron said. “The building is a random shape which captures the eye. “Thanks to the preparation work by building owner Andrew Pratt, it has been easy to paint.”

When an image was posted on the Facebook page of The SE Voice, it attracted hundreds of likes. Millicent business owner Haylie Callow said the mural had been endorsed by customers at her café. “I love it,” Ms Callow said. “It really hits you as you come around the roundabout.”

The mural is the fifth project by the Imagine Millicent Art Group (IMAG). Following lengthy consultation with IMAG and the building owner, Mr Makatron provided over 10 versions of the nature based theme of “wind, water and wings” to come up with the final beehive design.

The beehive theme was derived from historical research. The Beehive Corner coincides with the same aspect as Adelaide’s main shopping street Rundle Mall and this synergy has the support of local business owners and the Millicent Business Community Association.

Millicent Business Community Association chair and IMAG member Lee Morgan said the mural was designed to capture the imagination of visitors and residents alike to get people to explore the shopping precinct and to become aware that Millicent is a great place to live, work and play. “It is centrally located in the Limestone Coast and equidistant to the Coonawarra, coastal ports and the regional city of Mount Gambier,” Mr Morgan said.

“As the fifth project by IMAG, we are seeing significant benefits in the vibrancy of our town. “It all started with the Mimby Jones Robinson mural on the old bank building in George Street in 2018 and then the IMAG community piano project with Jeremy Ievins, followed by the squid in the skate park in 2019 and then Mel Spurling’s shell-scape in the Domain in 2020.

“IMAG team has been hard-working with strenuous fundraising such as raffles and garden days, assisted by some generous donations from the business community and a community grant from the Wattle Range Council. “A huge thank you must go to Mr Pratt who made a significant investment to get the wall prepared for Mr Makatrons’s Bee Hive.

“IMAG is about bringing high standard murals into the streetscape. “The group is committed to procuring quality artworks for Millicent, which benefits the local economy by creating more interest from the tourism sector.

As a thank you to Mr Pratt and the supporting business fraternity, IMAG held a Meet the Artist event known as ‘What’s the Buzz’ at the Millicent Gallery on Friday night. Among the 45 in attendance were the parents of Mr Makatron.

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