Board Members

Irene Smith-King, President, has been a life-long resident of Gary, Indiana and currently lives in the Miller community of Gary. She and her husband have been active in Gary and raised their three children in the community. (All graduates of Emerson Visual & Performing Arts School) She attended Roosevelt High School and Ball State University. Mrs. Smith- King is a patron and advocate for the arts. She has spent the last 15 years dedicated to public service and the arts.

Martha C. Bohn, Ph.D., Secretary, is Director of the Neurobiology Program at the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Research Center and is Emeritus Professor at  Northwestern University. She has served on many advisory boards for scientific societies, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health and was President of the Society for Neural Therapy and Repair and the Chicago Chapter for the Society for Neuroscience. She is co-founder of the biotechnology company MedGenesis Therapeutix. Marty has been a resident of Miller, IN since 2004. Marty is involved with the Miller community and likes to photograph landscapes in the area and through her travels. She has exhibited her photography at Gallery 46403, the Lake Street Gallery and Pop Up Art events in Miller. Marty is a board member of the Miller Garden Club and sends out the monthly Garden Club Newsletter. She also served on the Board for the Aquatorium Society and is a consultant to the Board of the South Shore Dance Alliance. She is a founding member of the Miller Beach Arts and Creative District and serves as Board Secretary and is a member of the Properties and Best Use Committee.

Wendy Petit-Prettyman, Treasurer, is a long-time resident of Miller Beach and is a local accountant. She is the owner of Petit Accounting and Management Services on Lake Street. Wendy has oversight of the Farmers Market Committee and serves on the Properties and Best Use Committee.

Gene Ayers is a local realtor and a long-time Miller resident. In addition to his many business and Association responsibilities, Gene has given back to his community in many ways. He is the Past President of the Gary Rotary with 34 consecutive years of perfect attendance. Gene is Vice President of the Properties & Best Use Committee and oversees the Planning and Facilities Committees, as well as being a member of the Financial Advancement Committee.

Nina Greer was born and raised in the Miller neighborhood of Gary, Indiana. She attended St. Mary Of The Lake Elementary School and graduated from Andrean High School in Merrillville, Indiana. At an early age, she developed a passion for understanding Human Behavior and studied Psychology and Criminal Justice at Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis. Nina has used her affinity for Human Behavior to pursue a career in Retail leadership and has held leadership roles at Target's Corporate headquarters in the area of Distribution and Logistics. She currently is a Regional Manager with Sunglass Hut - a Division of Luxottica Group - overseeing a $10 Million market in Northern Indiana and Southwest Chicago. Her most treasured role is mother to her two year old daughter Scarlett. Scarlett is the source of her inspiration and Nina's crown jewel. Nina also loves fashion as an expression of wearable art. She is always in search of " the one piece" to define a look. Her favorite fashion icons are two First Ladies Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Michelle Obama. Nina enjoys music of all genres. She will argue that anything on vinyl is best! She also loves architectural design, and countless expressions of visual art. After traveling the world and living all over the United States, Nina still calls Miller a Beach her home. She wishes to preserve and pass on the values of the community through service. She serves on the MBACD's Marketing Committee.

Kamau Kadirifu recently moved to Miller and loves the programming that the MBACD continues to produce. He participated in a group photography exhibit, the Lake Effekt (public art) Festival, and taught an African drumming class at The Park Shore Apartments through a Miller Beach Arts & Creative District grant and wanted to become even more involved. His artistic training began at a young age studying piano with his grandfather who was a jazz and gospel band leader. He also played Trombone, Baritone, and Tuba through elementary and high school. Kamau received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Columbia College Chicago with a Major in Photography, while working in The Museum of Contemporary Photography. He has also been a performing artist working with Muntu Dance Theatre and Sundance Productions in Chicago as a musician. And taught Traditional West African drumming to kids through the After School Matters program as well as an independent artist with Alyo Childrens’ Dance Theatre, The Woodlawn Academy Charter School, Betty Shabazz Charter School, and Kwame Nkrumah Academy Charter School. He has taught Photography classes with The Mayors Office of Employment and Training, The Boulevard Arts Center, The Woodlawn Academy Charter School and Libby Elementary School in Chicago.

Larry Lapidus

Larry is from New York City and has made his living as a renowned portrait photographer in New York & Chicago for 30 years.  In New York, Larry studied under universally known “Life” magazine photographer Phillipe Halsman. Now living in Miller Beach, Larry is on the Board of the Miller Beach Art & Creative District.  He has been instrumental in programming the documentary film series which he has initiated and for which he provides accompanying lectures.  He has curated several art & photography exhibits and has implemented “Moveable Wall Art” - where the arts district features artists in the windows of the MJGC between exhibits.  In another role Larry enjoys locating new and established talent for the MBACD.  For over two decades Larry has volunteered on the Board of Directors for the Near North Chapter of Lyric Opera of Chicago procuring speakers and singers for fundraising events, as well as being a volunteer lecturer for community outreach.  He is also on the Board of the Wagner Society of America.  Adding to his artistic repertoire, he has recently turned his eyes and hands to acrylic abstract painting, as this medium allows him to express himself in ways that extend beyond those available in photography. Larry is thrilled to be involved in the stimulation of the wonderful and growing community of Gary through his work in the Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts which, in addition to being a wonderful exhibition gallery, also functions as an excellent space for other mediums in the field of art.

Linda Levi is a psychotherapist, supervisor and program director of clinical, case management, substance abuse and crisis programs with a BA in Psychology/Women's Studies from Lake Forest College and an MA in Clinical Psychology from Roosevelt University. She has been a docent with the MBACD since its inception and is currently co-chair of the Events & Marketing Committee.

Kathy Long

Mark McPhail is Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Indiana University Northwest. He has held administrative and faculty appointments at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Southern Methodist University, Miami University of Ohio, the University of Utah, Wayne State University, the University of Michigan, and Emerson College, and served as the Van Zelst Lecturer in Communication at Northwestern University. Dr. McPhail began his career in Communication at Emerson College, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude, earning a degree and teaching certificate in Secondary Education, and serving as his Senior Speaker for his graduating class. He received a Master of Arts in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, and the Doctor of Philosophy in Rhetoric and Public Address from the University of Massachusetts. Dr. McPhail has presented numerous papers at National and Regional Conferences, and published scholarly essays in  state, regional, national, and international books and journals. His creative work has appeared  in Dark Horse Magazine and The American Literary Review, and his    photography has been exhibited at the African American Museum in Dallas Texas, and the Crossman Gallery, Roberta’s Gallery, and the Cultural Arts Center in  Whitewater Wisconsin. He is included in Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities, and Who's Who Among America’s Teachers, and has received a number of awards including the Albert  J.  Colton  Memorial  Research  Fellowship,  the  University  of Utah's Tanner Humanities Fellowship, the National Communication Association's Karl Wallace Memorial Award, and Southern Methodist University’s Honoring our Professor’s Excellence (HOPE) Award.  He serves on the MBACD's Marketing Committee.

Rosalyn L. Mitchell has been in the field of architecture for over 25 years and subscribes to the ideology of the master builder, taking a holistic approach to designing and building. Her interpersonal skills have contributed to her successful management of large, challenging and often controversial projects. She knows that a designer is first a humanitarian and has contributed 4 years as a public servant to citizens of Gary, Indiana. As the Director of Planning for the City of Gary, Indiana, she applied her innovative approach to problem solving and administrative skills on a macro scale.  The diversity of her background spans from design recognition for ergonomic furniture to award-winning over site of multi-million dollar new and renovation projects in the private and public sectors. She holds a BS in Construction Technology and in Architectural Technology from Purdue University Calumet and a MA in Architecture from Illinois Institute of Technology. She is the MBACD's Vice President in charge of Marketing.

Robert Northington

Sheila M. Moss is currently Judge of the Lake Superior Court since 1993 after having been admitted to the Indiana State Bar in October 1981. She has previously held the position of Deputy Director of the Child Support Division for the Office of the Lake County Prosecutor. Additionally, she has held the positions of Deputy Prosecutor and Chief Deputy Prosecutor in the Gary City Court as well as serving as a Public Defender. She is a graduate of Bishop Noll High School in Hammond, Indiana, holds a Baccalaureate Degree in Political Science from Valparaiso University, and received her Juris Doctorate Degree from Valparaiso University School of Law. She is active with the Urban League of Northwest Indiana, a member of the Board of Advisors of the Serenity House, and a Subscribing Life Member of the NAACP. She also represents the First District on the Board of Directors of the Indiana Judicial Conference; she is a member of the Commission Against Ethnic and Racial Bias in the Courts, the National Conference of Negro Women, National Bar Association Judicial Council, a representative of the Board of Managers of the Indiana State Judge's Association and a master in the Calumet American Inn of Court. Sheila is the Chair of the MBACD's Community Outreach Committee.

Tim Petrites was born and raised in Merrillville IN and did not discover Miller Beach until high school when a friend of his worked at the Miller Bakery Cafe. His background has always been in sales AND service, and his skills are best put to use when the product or goal is one he can get behind 100%.  The Miller Beach Arts & Creative District is an organization which provides exactly that for Tim. The sphere he has developed, maintained and continued to grow within Northwest Indiana and beyond has been essential for his business as a real estate agent. He is equally adept at following direction as well as taking the lead. He has always possessed a deep appreciation for art in all forms, believes wholeheartedly in the mission of the arts district and has a vested interest in the continued growth and success of the MBACD. He loves serving on the board along with diverse yet like-minded individuals. Tim is the MBACD's Vice President in charge of the Fundraising Committee and also serves on the Financial Advancement and the Events & Marketing committees.

Marianita Hicks Porterfield is a Fiber Artist and Art Teacher. She is a native of Hot Springs, Arkansas. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Arkansas A.M. & N. College (which is presently the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff). She serves on the Outreach Committee.

Jessica Renslow is a native of Gary Indiana and 2002 recipient of the David Letterman Award for her original screenplay, Stained Glass Graffiti. She graduated from Ball State University with a BA in Japanese language/ culture and telecommunications production, then lived and worked in rural Hokkaido Japan for three years as a member of the Japanese Ministry of Education-sponsored, Japanese Exchange Teaching Program. After exiting snow country, she moved to Los Angles and worked in film and TV. She had a variety of production gigs, ranging from being a human wrangler on The Price is Right to an anime translator for Marvel Studios. 2010 marked the worldwide premiere of her directorial debut, Everywhere & Nowhere at the Women in Arts Festival (Los Angeles). After passing the California Teachers of English Learners exam in 2011, she decided to pursue her MA in Education from California State University. Her graduate studies centered on instructional design and technology/ new media production and leadership. She translated and adapted a feature length script entitled, Spectacled Tiger, which placed first at the 2013 Sundance International Filmmaker Awards. Currently, she has several works in syndication on national and international channels. Since moving home to Gary in 2015, she has been very happy to be Gary-Miller's Neighborhood Spotlight community builder. As part of the Legacy Foundation-sponsored Neighborhood Spotlight Initiative, she has enjoyed promoting grassroots projects and local entities that are helping to revitalize the community.

Ann E. Rose is a native of Miller Beach and an Executive Assistant at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Chicago, Illinois. Ann began designing unique, one-of-a-kind jewelry over 13 years ago. You can find Annie Rose Originals on display at Lake Street Gallery in Miller Beach, Miller Beach Farmer’s Market, Lotus Spa in Chesterton, various fundraisers and parties around NW Indiana and the Greater Chicagoland area. Additionally, Ann donates jewelry sets to silent auctions for worthy causes such as UNICEF, Association House of Chicago, Crisis Center and the NW Indiana Humane Society. Ann is co-chair of the MBACD's Events & Marketing Committee.

Advisory Board

John Cain has served South Shore Arts as executive director since 1993 and has been instrumental in the organization’s rise as a leader in the cultural life of the Calumet Region. He has led South Shore Arts through an evolutionary phase, culminating in the opening of two branch locations and its designation by the Indiana Arts Commission as a Regional Arts Partner.

Kay Rosen is a world renowned artist, professor at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and resident of Miller.


Meg Roman​, Executive Director, was born and raised in Miller but spent most of her adult life pursuing her career around the world including a long stint in London. She is a graduate of Gary's Wirt High School and holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and business from Washington University in St. Louis.  After many years living and working in other US cities and abroad, she returned to Gary with a renewed passion for her home town and great excitement about the progress and potential of the Miller Beach Arts & Creative District. She has participated in and appreciates a broad range of artistic media and brings a very strong skill set that includes business analysis, project implementation, customer service, change management, training, communication and marketing, team/relationship building, and global systems implementation.