Janina Monkute Marks, nationally and internationally exhibited artist, best known for weaving large tapestries initially of Lithuanian folk themes and subsequently drawing from her American life experience, died in Hyde Park, Chicago, Ill. on Nov. 13, 2010 at the age of 87 surrounded by her family. She went without pain and is at peace.
A child actress in her native Lithuania, she entered a displaced person camp in Germany at the close of World War II . Emigrating to Chicago in 1949 she became involved in the Little Theatre community movement and found her life’s work as a fine artist expressing the universal need for freedom of expression. Her participation and support of the many cultural and art institutions in Hyde Park, Chicago and beyond are a testament to her belief to give back to her community.
When Soviet rule ended, she searched for ways to help her homeland. Near 10 years ago she founded the first non-profit museum/art gallery in Lithuania in her home town of Kedainiai. Its membership has grown to include people from the large cities of Lithuania, Europeans and Americans. It is a model for others to emulate.
Monkute Marks was married to the jeweler Ira Marks (Whitehall and other jewelry firms) for near 50 years and had been a longtime resident of Sanibel. She is survived by four children, Sigi (Elizabeth) Nagys, Daniel (Vida) Marks, Peter (Dorothy) Marks, Paul (Anna) Marks, 10 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Janina Marks Charitable Foundation, 5490 S. Shore Drive 4-S, Chicago, IL 60615. A memorial service was held on Nov. 17 at Chicago Sinai Temple in Chicago, Ill.