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IU Northwest Gallery to host book signing for author, illustrator on June 9, 10

Visiting lecturer Meg DeMakas has passion for children’s stories

IU Northwest file photo
Visiting Lecturer Meg DeMakas, Ed.D

Indiana University Northwest invites the campus community and the public to view the illustrations of Meg DeMakas, Ed.D., visiting lecturer in the School of Education, in early June at the IU Northwest Gallery for Contemporary Art, located in the Savannah Center.

DeMakas, who is promoting her latest children’s book, “Jeb Joins the Circus,” will be on hand during a book signing, set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursday, June 9 and 5 to 7 p.m., Friday, June 10 in the gallery.

DeMakas’ collection consists of 20 watercolors and two oil paintings that grace the pages of the book, sold on and available for purchase during the book signing for $7.

Gallery director Ann Fritz referred to DeMakas’ work as a “treasure for the campus” and likened her pieces to that of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec , a French artist.

A resident of Winfield, DeMakas was raised in Hammond. In fact, it was her Gavit High School art teacher whom she credits with nurturing her passion for illustrating. As a hobby, she began copying the artwork from her favorite children’s book character, Madeline.

“I’ve always liked art. I would have liked to have been an artist but I became a teacher because I didn’t want to be a starving artist,” DeMakas laughed.

As for the text, the characters in DeMakas’ children’s books, which she writes under her maiden name, Meg Ellen Grandfield, are peppered with the people, pets, places and scenarios of her own life.

“It starts out as a memory but I exaggerate and go wild,” she says. “Jeb Joins the Circus” for example, is the result of DeMakas imagining what her own devilish cat might do if he ever succeeded in escaping, which he attempted often.

DeMakas says the idea to write children’s books came to her while mourning the tragic death of her younger brother. She recalls sitting at his gravesite, staring up at the heavens and thinking of the beautiful sky paintings of an artist who lived at a Vermont estate where she had once waitressed. She built that first story around a stray cat that had somehow found the hidden estate. She worked her brother into that story, “How the Wellswood Cat Came to Be.”

DeMakas’s work includes an offering for adults as well, a book of poems and sketches titled, “Hot Potato Poetry.” Her “Tabby Tales” series includes two volumes of “Captain Jeb: Pirate Cat.” She is currently working on a how-to book about writing and illustrating children’s books.

Prior to her role as an IU Northwest faculty member, DeMakas served as an elementary school teacher in Portage, Hammond and Gary and also taught elementary education classes at Purdue University Calumet.

The IU Northwest Gallery for Contemporary Art is open to the public Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The mission of the IU Northwest Gallery for Contemporary Art is to present an innovative exhibition program that complements and enhances the university’s academic offerings. Exhibit art collections are for study and research, and are also meant to educate the university community and general public about the forms and issues of contemporary and historic art from all cultures.

The gallery is located in the Savannah Center neighboring the IU Northwest Book Store.

For more information, contact Gallery Director Ann Fritz at (219) 980-6891 or e-mail


Media Contact

Emily Banas
Office of Marketing and Communications

Erika Rose
Office of Marketing and Communications

Additional Article Photos

Illustration provided