creative research gallery and drawing center
a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization


Board of Directors


Founding Members


Jason Franz
Executive Director/Founder
Visual Artist and Professor of Art and Design
(on paid academic leave from Xavier University)

Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Jason Franz attended the Art Academy of Cincinnati in Eden Park and Mt. Adams, receiving his BFA degree with honors in 1988. During the first ten years of his career as an exhibiting artist Franz also worked as an exhibition designer and preparator at the Cincinnati Art Museum. He returned to academic life in 1996 to pursue an MFA degree at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, receiving his MFA in 1998. Franz left his museum position at this time and began his teaching career. From 1997 through 2002 he taught and developed new courses for both the Art Academy of Cincinnati, and the University of Cincinnati in the fields of both art and design. In 2002 Franz received a full-time appointment to head the painting and drawing programs at Xavier University in Cincinnati. He spent two years rebuilding these programs at Xavier, solidifying his teaching philosophy, and laying the ground-work for Manifest. While at Xavier, he also served as the faculty advisor for the founding of the Society of Visual Arts (a student government organization), assisted with the planning for a new departmental photography program, and championed the integration of technology into all the classroom studios. In June of 2005 he resigned his title of Assistant Professor in order to continue on a second year of paid academic leave at the University while working on the writing of his first book, and focusing his energy towards Manifest. As an artist and professor he is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including an Ohio Arts Council Fellowship, a Xavier University Faculty Development Grant, and two Summerfair Individual Artist Grants.

Jason Franz merges a passionate, motivated sense for quality developed in his ten years experience at the Cincinnati Art Museum, and his own studio work, with his dedicated and intuitive techniques of fine art and design education developed at the Art Academy, UC, and Xavier. His philosophical approach to the pedagogy of creativity, community, and art exhibition helps fuel the mission of Manifest.



Elizabeth Kauffman
Graduate student in Fine Art at the University of Cincinnati

Born in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, Elizabeth Kauffman came to Cincinnati to study for her BA in Painting at Xavier University. In her final year at Xavier, Kauffman served as the President of the Society of Visual Arts, which has as its mission to give students the opportunity to express and utilize their passion for art by engaging the arts as community service and by spreading the appreciation and spirit of art throughout the University and community. Kauffman is twice the recipient of the Three-Arts Scholarship, and has had work exhibited in regional competitive shows, most recently at Ohio State University's Mansfield campus. She pioneered the ongoing and successful community business collaborative exhibition X-Art at the Echo restaurant in Hyde Park, where students of art display their products to a daily audience. Kauffman will be pursuing an MFA degree at the University of Cincinnati in the fall of 2005.

Developed in her leadership role at Xavier, Elizabeth Kauffman brings to Manifest a fresh yet mature visionary voice. With this she serves as an effective conduit from the ranks of the student body which Manifest seeks to address and involve.




Brigid O'Kane
FS Associate Professor of Design, University of Cincinnati

Born in the Detroit, Michigan area, Brigid O'Kane received her Associates Degree in Graphic Design from Macomb College, her BFA in Industrial Design from the College for Creative Studies in 1990, and her MFA in Drawing from the University of Cincinnati in 2005.

Since 2001 Brigid O’Kane has held the position of Field Service Associate Professor of Design in the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning. Professor O’Kane’s primary focus in the School of Design is Transportation Design, and has recently finalized the establishment of a Transportation Design Track within the Industrial Design program at UC.

O’Kane came to UC following ten years working for General Motors as a Senior Lead Creative Designer. While at GM, Professor O’Kane received a broad range of experience working in numerous brand character centers. O’Kane also worked at the General Motors Advanced Concept Center in California developing running prototypes of advanced concept vehicles. In 1998 she received the GM Award of Excellence for Outstanding Creativity and Leadership.

She has contributed extensively to several additional organizations such as Eyes on Design for the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology, Concept Cure, Women in Design and Design Educators Committee. Throughout her career Professor O’Kane has been actively teaching and tutoring at institutions such as the College for Creative Studies, Art Center College of Design, and the Cleveland Institute of Art. Professor O’Kane has been featured in articles of several publications including USA Today, Car Styling, and an appearance on The Joan Lunden Show.

Brigid O’Kane merges her interest and study of Fine Art with her noteworthy experience in a mass-consumer oriented design field and her expertise in the academic arena of design education. With this she brings the promise of an open minded and broadly informed view of art and design to the vision of Manifest.




Associate Directors

(serving one year terms)


Robert Spahr
Associate Director (sept. 2004 - sept. 2005)
Visual Artist and Instructor of New Media, SUNY Purchase College, New York City, NY

Born in Wilmington, Ohio, Robert Spahr received a BFA Degree from the Art Academy of Cincinnati and an MFA from Parson's School of Design, New York City.

Founder and curator of the Kraine Theatre Gallery (1992-1994), Spahr also conceived and organized evenings of theatre, music, dance, film, and performance art which coincided with the gallery's openings. At this time he was also founder and moderator of the Live Art Workshop (1993-1994), a group of multi-disciplinary artists, working together to develop collaborative performance.

Spahr then moved on to Co-found and become the Artistic Director of Expanded Arts (1995-1997), a critically acclaimed theatre company that produced numerous productions in its "Storefront Theatre" as well as producing "Free Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot. The successful off-broadway "Shakespeare's R&J " was first produced by Expanded Arts in September of 1997. It is now the longest running Romeo & Juliet in the history of Broadway.

In 1998 he founded, a website of digital images that can be sent as electronic greeting cards. The sacred and profane are all expressed through innocent appearing eCards that turn the and American Greetings format upside down.

For his current work Spahr creates automated scripts and algorithms that harvest images off the internet as source material, which are then used to generate a new image he calls "Crufts." In an attempt to democratize art making, Spahr also creates multiples in an unlimited edition with supplied "source files." Those interested in owning a Robert Spahr multiple are encouraged to download the "source files" and follow the instructions to create the art object for themselves. By exactly following the source file instructions, the created work will be considered part of this unlimited edition

As the first appointed Associate Director of Manifest, Spahr brings to the organization his far reaching cross-disciplinary experience as well as his affinity for forward-thinking and non-traditional art forms, experimentation, and philosophy. This, along with his New York City insight, joined with his understanding of Cincinnati and Walnut Hills (he was a once a resident of Walnut Hills), make him an ideal contributor to Manifest's endeavor of presenting thought provoking art and design in an urban setting. At Manifest Spahr represents the notion that new possibilities exist where art meets design and technology meets the creative mind.

Robert Spahr has lived and worked in New York City since 1989.






Christy Carr
Associate Director (oct. 2004 - oct. 2005)
Designer and Assistant Professor
Art Academy of Cincinnati

Christy Carr was born and raised in Cincinnati. She attended Walnut Hills High School, and received her BFA degree in Graphic Design and Photography from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1994. She then studied sculpture at the graduate level on scholarship at the University of Washington School of Art in Seattle from 1999-2000. She will be completing her Master of Design degree at the University of Cincinnati in 2004, also on scholarship, with a concentration in Graphic Design and Digital Design

Carr has held the position of Assistant Professor at the Art Academy of Cincinnati since 2002, where she teaches Photography, Visual Communications, Typography, Advertising Design, Publication Design, and Foundations. She has also taught design and photography courses at the University of Washington and Miami University.

Christy Carr's professional experience has been chronologically intertwined with her academic study and teaching. Throughout the past decade she has worked as a graphic designer and photographer for firms and institutions around the region. These include serving as Art Director at Alcott + Routon, Inc. in Nashville, Tennessee, and most recently as Senior Designer for the Design Group of South-Western/ Thomson Learning. And she currently operates Christy Carr Design, her own freelance design and consulting business.

Carr has widely exhibited her design and fine art, including at Gallery 4411 in Seattle, Washington, and at Jacob Lawrence Gallery at University of Washington in Seattle. In 1996 her design work was published in Graphic Design: usa, for which she received an American Graphic Design Award.

Very active in her profession, Christy is a member of The American Institute of Graphic Arts, the Society for Photographic Education, the Society for Environmental Graphic Design, and the College Art Association. She has also been involved with the Price Hill community group Imago since 2001 and is also a member of the President's Council on Environment at the University of Cincinnati.

Christy Carr's appointment to Associate Director completes Manifest's first founding team by solidifying the spectrum of experience, sensibilities, connection, and knowledge needed to achieve the Mission. Her cross-disciplinary practice combined with her community-minded activities and design expertise makes her an ideal contributor to Manifest's image and programming development.



Manifest's 14th season is funded in part by an impact grant
from ArtsWave, the Ohio Arts Council, and the generous contributions
of individual supporters who care deeply about the visual arts.

gallery hours:

tues-fri noon-7pm, sat noon-5pm
(or by special appointment)

closed Sun and Mon

Contribute to our Annual Fund



gallery map
2727 woodburn avenue
cincinnati, ohio 45206

drawing center map
4905 whetsel avenue
cincinnati, ohio 45227



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