From putting tables out on the street for artists to having a 6,000 sq. ft. gallery for art, the Miller Beach Arts & Creative District has enjoyed a “meteoric” rise. Thanks to an army of volunteers and great leadership, this bottoms-up organization is dedicated to growing the local economy through sustainable art projects, said Meg Roman, the founding ED who grew up in Gary and returned after a 16-year stint in London. “We have great volunteers who leave no stone unturned to make people excited about local art events and encourage them to patronize our shops and restaurants,” she added. The genesis of the arts district led to innovation born of concern of the decline of community storefronts and restaurants, she added. Now in its 6th year, the district has a 19-member volunteer board that oversees about 30 events like its signature downtown arts project, Lake Effekt. Providing exceptional educational and entertainment opportunities, the transformation has been palpable with now 18 new businesses and restaurants opening. She also credited the district’s leadership for milestones led by the first president Eric Reaves. He persuaded the Gardner family to donate the old Miller drug store to create the Marshall J. Gardener Center for the Arts with its impressive gallery. Now with double tracking for The South Shore on the horizon, Miller is poised for the future, linked inexorably to the arts.