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Marijana - Introduction

Marijana - My People's Painter exhibit

"The back fence was a good place to hang drawings"

To introduce Marijana one could begin with a quote from the book "Images of Strawberry Hill," published by the Kansas State Historical Society.

"Marijana Grisnick possesses an extraordinary talent that has been recognized by scholars and laypersons alike.  The images she creates on canvas are not soon forgotten by observers who are drawn into her world—the world of Marijana's youth—Strawberry Hill."

Marijana, a nonacademic painter has been telling the story of Strawberry Hill through her artwork for thirty years.  She has completed 250 paintings and continues to paint.  Marijana's paintings preserve a lasting record of the traditional Croatian/American culture of Strawberry Hill for future generations.

Her exhibitions include 25, one-woman exhibitions in the United States and two in Croatia.  The Balch Institute of America chose two of her paintings to represent the Croatian in America for a three-year exhibition that toured the United States.  She was chosen to be the artist to paint in the first Folk Life Festival in the state of Kansas.

Ten of Marijana's paintings are in the collections in Croatia, which include:

  1. The Cultural Ministry of Croatia in Zagreb
  2. City of Karlovac
  3. Vladimir Nazor Children's Home, Karlovac, where Marijana is a member of Zilik (a group of artists who believe that art is great when it is created with love and given to others).
  4. The Museum of Naïve Art, Zagreb, Croatia

Forty of Marijana's paintings are in the permanent collection of the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka.  Marijana has been recognized as a famous Kansan and a Notable Kansas Woman.

"Just as the brush is a tool by which a painter paints the world around her, the painter herself is a tool by which the people and place she is part of convey their world and preserve it for future generations."

Marijana's Strawberry Hill

Early in 1900 many Croatians immigrated to the United States from Croatia to Kansas City, Kansas.  They settled in a small community called Strawberry Hill.

A very small area, boundaries were Third Street on the east, Fifth Street on the west, Armstrong Avenue on the north, and Orville Avenue on the south.

Many Croatian-Americans lived outside these boundaries, they came up to the Hill to go to church, school, socials, and to visit.


Editor's note:

The paintings depicted here are from either Marijana Grisnik's personal collection or the collections of the Kansas Historical Society.  Marijana requested that we place these on our website to help educate children about the culture of the immigrants to Strawberry Hill.  The words in italics within the script are quotes from Marijana. By selecting on the image, larger versions will appear. Marijana encourages teachers to use the images in a media presentation for their class, especially if they are studying immigration settlements in Kansas.