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.

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.

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.

Maureen Farag has been a resident of Miller since 1971. Maureen is a retired Principal of Highland Middle School, and a former art teacher. She has a B.A. in Art from Madonna College, a Masters in Art Education from Purdue Calumet, Accounting Certificate from IUNW, an Administrative Certificate from Purdue Calumet, and is a graduate of the  Indiana Principal Leadership Institute. She and her husband owned Griffith Golf Center where she was responsible for accounting and payroll. Maureen was a member of the Indiana Middle Level Education Association, Indiana Association of School Principals, Indiana Art Education Association where she served on the board and did presentations on middle school art shows, and is a past board member of Gary Community Mental Health. Presently she is a member of the Miller Garden Club and her garden was in the 2002 Secret Garden show and her home was on the 2016 Indiana Landmarks/MBACD tour, and she is a charter member of the Friends of Marquette Park.

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.

Sarah Kobetis is a talented millennial with a background in city planning, historic preservation and design. She is committed to arts and culture as well as economic development/redevelopment. Sarah's technical skills include social media, website development, community engagement, partnering, administration and management.

Larry Lapidus 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  is an accomplished commodity broker who enjoys hard work, new challenges and making a difference. Kathy is highly organized with demonstrated leadership and communication skills. Her career follows a lifetime of diverse, successful work that includes Sales, Sales Management, Operations Management, Systems Development, and Project Management. She is best known for troubleshooting and getting results.  Along with her partner, Kathy started the Miller Beach Arts & Creative District's Farmers Market, serves on the Events Committee, and is Chair of the Properties & Best Use 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.

Ben Murray is an artist and educator currently living in Miller Beach. He received his MFA from the University of Illinois, Chicago in 2013 and BFA from Herron School of Art in 2011. He has taught painting and drawing at Lake Forest College, University of Illinois at Chicago, Illinois State University and with Chicago Artists Partnerships in Education. Murray was an Artist in Residence at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, and a MFA Resident at Ox-Bow. He has exhibited at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Hyde Park Art Center, Elmhurst Museum of Art, and Gallery 400. He is represented by Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago, who featured him at the Armory Show in 2015, and where his second solo exhibition with the gallery, In Life Review, opened in February of 2017.

Robert Northington is an interior designer and avid gardener, with interest and skills in fundraising and marketing.

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.

Annie Ramos is a native of Gary and a highly organized administrative professional with expertise in management, human resources, customer satisfaction and event planning.

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 1 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.

Wendy Vachet is the Regional Environmental Planning Manager for Michael Baker International, Inc., a global engineering
firm with offices throughout the United States. Prior to returning to the Midwest, Wendy served as a Regional Community Plans and Liaison Officer for the US Navy in Norfolk, Virginia where she worked closely with municipalities and regional planning bodies to promote integrated land use and transportation planning, environmental conservation and partnership development. Wendy is a humanist and a well-seasoned socioenvironmental
and urban planning practitioner who specializes in multidisciplinary studies for complex public projects. Wendy is a native of Northwest Indiana who has returned home to make positive civic and professional contributions to improving the quality of life for everyone, but, especially, for the people of Gary. Both personally and professionally, Wendy is committed to civil discourse, community engagement and data-forward decision making for transformative change in Northwest Indiana. She is a long standing member of the American Planning Association and the American Institute of Certified Planners, she holds a Bachelor of Science from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs and a Master of Urban Studies from Old Dominion University. Wendy’s great loves are the written word, art in all forms, travel, lively conversation, yoga and a firm belief in the indomitable human spirit.

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.

Staff

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.