KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- When Anton Horvat came from Croatia to Kansas City, Kansas, he only had a pocket knife and the clothes on his back. He also had a knack for whittling. Today, five generations of the family have the knack, too.
After long days of work, Horvat practiced the English language and carving wood.
"He used simple tools like a pocket knife, sand paper, scraps of wood," said Jim Horvat. "It was whatever he found or brought home from work."
Horvat honed his hobby and started creating intricate alters for the homes of friends. He also created nativity scenes. His grandsons admired his work as children and continued his legacy adding their own unique skills. Joe Sr. is a painter and Jim restores statues and religious relics.
"It's in our blood and it goes on with my grandchildren my sons and my father and grandfather," Joe Horvat said.
The youngest generation of the Horvat family has its own artist voice which is expressed in modern art and digital photography. The family tradition started more than a century ago and has changed with technology and is still emerging.
"It's awesome to see all these generations now and look at the future," Grace Horvat said. "In the future, that will be even better."
The artists in the Horvat family inspire each other. Their great-grandfather Anton would surely be proud that they've carried on the tradition.
You can see the Horvat Family Exhibit at the Strawberry Hill Museum in KCK through the end of July.