Susan Fedorko, 41, a U.S. Department of Agriculture purchasing agent who works in Downtown's Butler Square, grew up adopted but recently discovered she's related to many artists. Her biological mother, Catherine Dahmen, was a model who graced the cover of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. Her great uncle, George Morrison, was a renowned Native American abstract artist who designed the "Tableau: A Native American Mosaic" on Nicollet Mall (pictured), between 7th and 8th streets and "LaSalle Totem," a sculpture in LaSalle Plaza's lobby, South 8th Street and Hennepin Avenue.
How did you learn about your biological family and their artistic careers?
From my half-sister Sarah and other family members. I was amazed to hear that the family was touched with so much talent. At first, Sarah told me my birth mother was a huge, huge model. At first, I thought she was trying to tell me she was a plus-size model. Then I learned she was a supermodel of the late '60s and early '70s. As for my great-uncle George, I believe I found out the grand scale of his work when I spoke with my great-aunt Hazel Belvoe. She told me George was considered one of the best Native American artists of the 20th century.
Do you have artistic inclinations/ambitions?
Yes! I guess I knew I had the artistic talent when I won my first art contest in 1st grade. I competed with all the other 1st graders in the seven-county metro area. I won a train ride to Duluth to see my art piece on exhibit. Although I have never pursued art professionally, I am usually picked first for Pictionary. I am currently writing a book on my adoption reunion story.
What does family mean to you?
I was raised with stong values, understanding and sacrifices. Family has to be the priority. Family is still in your heart every step of the day -- whether you are home or away. My family is the most important part of being me.