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Painting of houses, backyards, and people
Marijana's Backyard, 1974

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Community Life in Strawberry Hill
A Local Legacy

Do you know the expression "Every picture tells a story?" With the paintings by Marijana Grisnik of Kansas City, Kansas, that is definitely true.

Marijana Grisnik, a Croatian American born in 1936, captured everyday life with her colorful paintings of the Strawberry Hill neighborhood in Kansas City, Kansas. Strawberry Hill lies on the bluffs overlooking the Kansas and Missouri rivers, and legend has it that the name comes from the wild strawberries that once grew there.

Grisnik's work is influenced by the "naïve" artists of Croatia. The "naïve" (pronounced nye-eve) style of painting is usually practiced by someone who is self-taught and presents images in an uncomplicated way. Do you think that is true in this painting?

The area of Strawberry Hill is most closely defined with the South Slavic immigrants, especially the Croatians, who came in the late 19th century to seek greater opportunity and prosperity. As was the case for many ethnic communities, life in Strawberry Hill at first resembled life in the old country. Although many changes have occurred, it remains a strong ethnic community and a center for Croatian Americans throughout the Kansas City area.

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