If you’re an avid Peninsula Pulse reader, you may have noticed an unusual ad running in the Art/Lit section of our June 2 issue. It read:
*** OFFERING A REWARD ***
For the return of this Janet Checker painting. Approx. size is 2ft x 4ft and is referred to as “Lady of Panama” (part of the Women of Americas Series).
Janet was from Galena, IL, but is an established artist & well known throughout Door County. Her family is looking for any information that will help them locate this painting!
The ad was submitted by Jon Checker, an almost-retiree who splits his time between Door County and Illinois. For nearly 60 years, he was married to lifelong artist Janet Checker.
Janet started out as a weaver, teaching at Sievers School of Fiber Arts on Washington Island for nearly 25 years throughout the 1960s and ’70s before transitioning from textile art to painting, Jon said.
“She would include paintings in her woven garments; then she switched to fine art around the ’80s,” creating paintings such as the ones that populate her 15-portrait Women of Americas series, Checker said.
Janet died of cancer in the fall of 2022, and since then, Jon has been on a mission.
“I want to preserve her legacy,” he said – and his way of doing so is by gathering the art she spent her life making.
But that’s easier said than done. During the last few years of Janet’s life, as the couple spent time in and out of the hospital, “we kept terrible records,” Jon said, and they lost track of where some of Janet’s pieces, including “Lady of Panama,” were being exhibited.
“I’m not sure that the painting that we’re looking for is even in Door County,” said Jon, who has also been searching his corner of Illinois for it, “but I’m still looking.”
Anyone who has information about the painting may contact Jon at 815.541.1295 or [email protected].