Birds she’s seen, she paints

Pelkie native’s exhibit at Kerredge Gallery

ONTONAGON — When Tammy Santti-Kero was growing up in Pelkie, her family had several birds as pets, so it’s logical she would choose birds as subjects for her art.

Santti-Kero has an exhibit called “Birds I’ve Seen” at the Kerredge Gallery at the Copper Country Community Art Center until June 30.

Santti-Kero said she’s been involved with art from an early age.

“I was always the one people wanted to make the posters in elementary school,” she said.

The medium for “Birds I Have Seen” is acrylic, Santti-Kero said, but over the years she has done oil paintings, weaving, sculpting, lithography and design work.


“I’ll work with just about anything,” she said.

Santti-Kero said she earned a master of fine arts from Michigan State University in 1992. She almost became an art teacher at one point, but another job put that thought aside.

“I got stuck working in bakeries,” she said.

Now, Santti-Kero said she has a business making cakes.

“I got to do the last (Detroit) Red Wings Stanley Cup cake,” she said.

When she was growing up in Pelkie, Santti-Kero said her family always had birds, including pet crows, which she enjoyed.

“They really have a sense of humor,” she said.

Other subjects for her paintings include occasional portraits, and landscapes, Santti-Kero said.

The exhibit at the Kerredge Gallery is the first time she’s had so many paintings showing at one time, Santti-Kero said.

“I’ve shown a few paintings here and there,” she said.

Her exhibit was supposed to take place last summer, Santti-Kero said, but there was too much going on in the city, so it was postponed.

“That’s when they had the roads all ripped up,” she said.

There will be a reception for Santti-Kero from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday at the CCCAC, and Executive Director Cynthia Cote said Santti-Kero is well-known to her.

“We employed her as an education coordinator,” Cote said.

Santti-Kero is exhibiting at the gallery because of the quality of her work.

“She’s an accomplished artist,” she said. “It’s just art work that makes you feel good.”

Santti-Kero said at the time she’s not making a living as an artist, but it’s something she would like to do.

“It’s always been a dream,” she said.