Photo of John Hudak
by friend
and fellow artist
Stuart Pearson
John V. Hudak

Throughout his career he lived and worked in Joliet and always taught art classes in his studio or at the Joliet Artist's League, sharing his talent with children and adults interested in art.

He also taught at Lewis University, the College of St. Francis, Joliet Catholic High School, and for 22 years for the Illinois Correctional System, where he initiated the Prison Art System. A school of Art Education at Stateville is named in his honor.

Hudak teaching inmates at Stateville

John was a man of intense concern for the environment, government, morality and his role as an activist in these areas. The beautification of the City of Joliet was high on his priority list. He worked tirelessly lobbying city officials to establish a commission to make the area more attractive to residents and visitors. He was often frustrated because officials of larger cities want to make the city larger before they make it better. "There is a preoccupation with quantity rather than quality," he would stress.

John was a lover of natural beauty and served as Joliet Park District Commissioner for 14 years. He also served on the Joliet Task Force for the Preservation of Historical Sites.

As an artist, John's goal was to design Christmas cards and create artistic works which would influence young people and bring them in touch with the quality of the environment and its significance to our physical and psychological well-being.

John Hudak passed away in 1990 at the age of 73, but his paintings and spirit will live on in the hearts of those he touched.

John Vincent Hudak was a philosophical artist, humanitarian, and political activist who was passionate about all his interests. He is best known for his watercolor paintings of Joliet buildings and landscapes.

John Hudak was born in Chicago, then lived in LaSalle for 15 years before moving to Joliet in 1932. He discovered a talent and love for watercolor painting while serving in the armed forces in Baton Rouge, Louisiana during World War II.

He was a graduate of Lewis University, and received his Art Education at the American Academy of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Northern Illinois University.

He was employed as an artist for the famous Gerlach-Barklow Calendar Company in Joliet, and also designed Christmas cards for the Henri Fayette and Century Greeting Card Companies in Chicago, as well as the F.J. Warren Company of England.

He won numerous awards in art competitions in the Midwest and East. He exhibited his paintings in Chicago, New York City, Pittsburgh and throughout North Central Illinois.

John was a deeply religious man and a member of St. Patrick's Holy Name Society. He was a founding member of the Catholic Social Club. He was also a member of the Joliet Artist's League and the American Watercolor Society.


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