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Barbara M. Meeker: A Career Retrospective

September 25, 2020 - October 31, 2020

1040 Ridge Road
Munster, IN 46321

  • Recurrence: Recurring weekly on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
  • Time: 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM

The South Shore Arts fall exhibit will feature a career retrospective of celebrated local artist and educator Barbara M. Meeker. The artist has graciously designated all sales of her artwork from the exhibit to benefit South Shore Arts and Hospice of the Calumet Area.

 Born in Peru, Indiana, to a family who inspired creativity, Meeker’s mother was one of her greatest influences. A painter and drawer herself, Meeker’s mother saw an opportunity for her daughter to be an artist and encouraged a career in that direction. Meeker earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from DePauw University in 1952. After graduating, she embarked on a career, teaching art in the Hammond public schools from 1952-57. She taught private art lessons in her home studio to students looking to further their art education as those opportunities were not available in Northwest Indiana at that time. She founded B&B Design Studios with her husband Bill in 1958.

In 1965, Meeker joined the staff of Purdue University Northwest, where she taught as a professor in the Department of Architectural Technology for 25 years. During her time at Purdue, she developed new courses in freehand drawing for architecture and engineering programs. At the time, she was the only artist on staff, and her students were almost all male engineers. The school had no other art programs, so Meeker built and coordinated an art gallery where she created a collection of artworks for the university and worked to create public art pieces on campus. She was honored as a Professor Emerita of Architectural Technology for her excellent services.

Meeker was involved with a number of regional art communities throughout the years. She became a member of South Shore Arts when it was known as Northern Indiana Arts Association and the Salon Show was still held at Minas Department Store in downtown Hammond. She exhibited in a number of those shows, winning numerous awards over the years.

 Meeker explored a variety of mediums and artistic styles during her career. After teaching at Purdue, she went on to continue her education in painting with various artists and instructors studying in workshops across the nation.

 She studied under watercolor artists, Dong Kingman and Miles Batt, citing these instructors as some of her major influences. Meeker says “I was most influenced by the artists and instructors I studied with during by time abroad. Learning from people you are working with hands on is the best kind of education. I like to think outside the box, color outside the lines. I’m creative, using my surroundings with my imagination. I’ve always painted things that I love and make me happy, adding my own creative spin.”

 Meeker is best known for her landscapes of the unexpected beauty in the industrial backgrounds and the natural beauty of the dunes found in Northwest Indiana. She claims that she isn’t a realist but more of an abstract painter of these landscapes.

Now retired, Meeker continues to mentor art students and inspire others to pursue careers in art. In the 1980s and ‘90s, Meeker frequently visited California, learning the art of jewelry-making, which she still actively pursues as a hobby. She aspires to find ways to use her art-making to benefit the community around her. Meeker’s work hangs in 25 different public locations and corporate collections, and she has won a number of awards and is included in the National Society of Watercolorists. 

Barbara M. Meeker: A Career Retrospective will be on view in the South Shore Arts gallery at the Center for Visual & Performing Arts, September 25 through November 1, 2020. Additional prints and jewelry will be for sale in the Gift Shop during her exhibit. For more information about South Shore Arts exhibits visit Southshoreartsonline.org.