New Hopkins Academy scholarship named in honor of Hadley artist John Gnatek

  • John Gnatek talks recently about the historic painting he did of Hadley that was donated to the Hadley Public Library . GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Monday, January 03, 2022

HADLEY — John Gnatek, a longtime Easthampton resident, Hadley native and 1951 Hopkins Academy graduate who has gained fame as an artist, will soon have a scholarship at his alma mater named after him.

To fund the scholarship, a project to sell prints of Gnatek’s historic “Old Hadley, Mass.” mural, which is featured at the Hadley Public Library, is underway.

In recognition of the town’s 362nd anniversary in 2021, Hadley resident Ted Mieczkowski recently paid to have 362 prints made of the mural Gnatek completed in 1956.

During the town’s 350th celebration in 2009, the mural, depicting aspects of the town’s history, including the Hockanum covered bridge, Hopkins Academy and the home of Civil War hero Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, was made into a commemorative postcard.

Gnatek, 89, has signed, titled and numbered each print, and each will be sold for $60 from the library, with the funds establishing the John Gnatek Art Award.

The plan is for this to be a new award that will be given annually to a graduating senior at Hopkins Academy who will focus on art in college.

Hadley resident Mary Thayer, who is assisting with the sale, said that trustees of Hopkins Academy will manage the award. The recipient will be selected by an art award committee made up of the art teacher and others at the school.

Gnatek may be best known for doing watercolor cityscapes of Northampton and Amherst. Many of his works are at R. Michelson Galleries in downtown Northampton.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.