Minutes into a conversation with Kate Schlademan and Michelle Ward Ciancio you would think you’re speaking with life-long friends. When I ask how long they’ve known each other I’m blown away to hear that it’s only been about a year! Kate is the owner of The Learned Owl Book Shop in Hudson and Michelle is a business banker and painter. They are a testament to everything supportive friendship should be and as you get to know them it is no surprise they were drawn to one another, as these are two deeply thoughtful, humorous, community-minded individuals.
The two recently came together for a series of paintings by Michelle entitled “Learned Ladies of Literature.” Each month Michelle will create a new original work and prints of a female author, with proceeds benefiting ArtsNow. The original work and prints will be available for purchase at The Learned Owl.
Michelle has been painting for 5 years and started as a therapeutic pursuit after the birth of her daughter. She refers to herself as a “benevolent artist” and to date she has given 100% of the proceeds from sale of her work to a variety of charities. When creating portraits she even goes as far as to learn about the individuals she is painting and take into account what causes her muse might support. Kate has been the owner of The Learned Owl for 7 years and is a tremendous advocate for the Summit County literary community in conjunction with a collection of wonderful bookstores, University of Akron Press, Kent State University Press, the Wick Poetry Center, Sisters in Crime, and numerous libraries that keep our communities engaged.
Additionally, she hosts Northeast Ohio authors in the shop weekly representing all genres.
Both women understand the value of arts and culture as an economic driver and see their project as an example of how you can blend the arts with small business and entrepreneurship. When it came to framing her original work, Michelle looked to the expertise of Hudson Fine Art and Framing. For creating expertly done prints they turned to Hudson based Printers Devil Inc. The exhibition drives foot traffic to The Learned Owl and purchase of the prints benefits ArtsNow. It shows the expansive effect of looking to your community first.
If you are interested in purchasing this month’s print you can purchase one here https://www.learnedowl.com/louisa-may-alcott-book-prints or in-person at The Learned Owl Book Shop.