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my name is

Michelle Wise. 

I'm an Artist

and Designer living

in Asheville, NC.

Who I am
I have a painting degree and more than 30 years of design experience in print publications, advertising, and freelance design and art direction. I'm a painter, illustrator, seamstress, found object artist, gardener, kayaker, and cook. I get my inspiration from old books, art postcards, junk shops, and Pinterest. I'm from the great Midwest, where, when you greet someone, you say "hey." 
How I work
I was a newspaper designer for years, and my style reflects that experience. I like to work as part of a team, and I like to work fast. I get inspiration from a brainstorming session or a bucket of words, then go off to create a rapid prototype for client review. Then we refine the design until it's right. My work is bold, clean, human, and real.
My work has a voice.

What I make

I've designed for the nonprofit,
for-profit, and government sectors, producing everything from interactive kiosks to environmental interpretive signs, newsletters to newspaper spreads. I craft small assemblage art boxes composed of found objects and vintage papers.
My moral compass
I believe in the widest possible development of art and the awareness of beauty so that the aesthetic experience may become
a pervasive reality in the lives of all humans. I believe in the full freedom of expression and civil liberties, throughout all areas of economic, political, and cultural life.

Michelle D. Wise


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Mixed media compositions and assemblage art

Josh Fuhrer

CEO & Director of Real Estate Development at Citizen Development Group
Former Executive Director,

Gresham Redevelopment Commission


Michelle really raised our level of polish and sophistication in terms of how we present ourselves to the world through our collateral. The thing I appreciate most is that she not only is a skilled designer, but she strives to understand the project goals beyond design. 


For example, thanks in large part to the collateral she created for us, we were able to secure several anchor tenants to our most important real estate development project, and raise millions in financing from both public and private sources. Without her eye toward the bottom line and how she was able to translate our goals into effective marketing materials, we would never have achieved these outcomes. I can't recommend Michelle highly enough!

Wendy Lawton
Con Brio Agency
Public Relations and Communications Services


I’ve had the pleasure of working with Michelle Wise twice – once as her boss at the City of Gresham, and then as a freelance contractor I hired while working at Oregon Health & Science University. I cannot recommend anyone as highly as a colleague and collaborator. Michelle is a gifted designer and art director who is creative, resourceful, responsive, professional and is a boundless source of great energy and wonderful ideas.


Michelle also is a pleasure to work with. She is committed, kind, funny and plays leader and team member with equal grace. Hire her. Now!


Michele McLellan

Project lead

INN Index

Institute for Nonprofit News


Michelle Wise is my go-to graphic designer since we began working together more than 20 years ago in the newsroom of The Oregonian. Then, as now, Michelle combined creative talent and design flair with the ability to produce visuals of complex data with clarity and accuracy.


Michelle is a good listener and communicator who offers options and adapts to changing needs and sometimes frantic deadlines. She works well independently and is a valued member of a remote team that produces an exhaustive annual study of the emerging field of nonprofit news. I don’t know how we would produce this report without her.


You get the best of both worlds with Michelle Wise: An artist who produces dynamic, compelling designs and an efficient problem-solver who adapts with aplomb to challenging requirements.

My work is dedicated to this friend and editor,

who gave me immeasurable gifts and life lessons.

Kay Balmer

Oct. 18, 1951 - April, 14, 2020