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


Board of Directors



Jason Franz
Executive Director/Founder
Visual Artist and Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Cincinnati

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. He is currently Adjunct Assistant Professor teaching drawing in the School of Design at the University of Cincinnati. 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 in 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 is currently pursuing an MFA degree at the University of Cincinnati.

Developed in her leadership role at Xavier and the UC graduate program, 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
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.



Sandi Sharp
Board Member, April 2006 - present
Visual Artist and Instructor

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Sandi Sharp received her BFA in Painting from The College of Mount Saint Joseph in 1996, graduating Magna Cum Laude. Since that time she has taught art to a wide age range of students in various educational settings.

For eight years Sandi taught at the Loveland Art Center in Loveland, Ohio. In addition to teaching, she developed structured art programming for ages 5 through adult. She has also taught at the Baker Hunt Foundation in Covington Kentucky, and was an adjunct instructor at The Art Academy of Cincinnati for three years.

Since 1997 Sandi has been an artist-facilitator with the Alzheimer's' Association of Greater Cincinnati in an art program designed to help those with dementia to experience and enrich their lives through creating art.

Since 2000 she has taught figure drawing and painting at the Dayton Art Institute in Dayton, Ohio, where she has also led workshops for teachers and the general public pertaining to the Museum's permanent collection.

Sandi brings to Manifest a mature and lively wisdom, and key insights into how art and design can affect the wellbeing of individuals in various life-stages.


Associate Directors

(serving one year terms)


Kevin Muente
Associate Director (sept. 2005 - sept. 2006)
Visual Artist and Assistant Professor of Painting at Northern Kentucky University

Kevin Muente received his BFA in drawing and painting from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1994 and his MFA in painting from the University of Cincinnati in 1999. While working for nationally-known mural artist Timothy Haglund, he assisted in the production of murals at the Hyatt Regency in Milwaukee, the Johnson Wax Worldwide Headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin, and at several private residences. He has exhibited his paintings in various national juried competitions.

Muente has garnered several awards and honors including Outstanding Graduating Graduate Student in Fine Arts, and most recently Artist in Residence at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. Muente has previously taught at the Milwaukee Art Museum and Missouri Western State College. He has served as assistant professor of painting at Northern Kentucky University since 2001.

Kevin Muente brings to Manifest his strong sense of academic quality (both pedagogical and aesthetic) along with his wide range of experience in art-related adventure, including past service on the board of directors of another Cincinnati area gallery, and leading college art students on numerous study-abroad excursions.







Kristin Cullen
Associate Director (sept. 2005 - sept. 2007)
Designer and Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
University of Cincinnati

Kristin Cullen is a graphic designer and professor at the University of Cincinnati. Born and raised in Chicago, she received a Master of Fine Arts in graphic design from the Rhode Island School of Design and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. In her professional practice, which includes several years at award-winning Chicago firms, she has designed a diverse range of communication materials for corporate, non-for-profit, and independent clients. Her work has appeared in national and international exhibits and publications, including Graphis Poster Annual, Print Regional Design Annual, 1,000 Designer Greetings, and American Corporate Identity. Her first book, Layout Workbook: A Real World Guide to Building Pages in Graphic Design, which addresses the design process and fundamentals, was released by Rockport Publishers in 2005. The book was recently awarded first place in the print/book design category by American Design Awards.

To Manifest, Kristin Cullen brings experience in the urban design environment and publishing field, as well as an eagerness to explore alternative creative outlets. Her contributions will solidify Manifest Press and broaden the gallery’s design-related exhibit and activity programming.



Past Associate Directors

Christy Carr (04-05)
Designer and Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, Art Academy of Cincinnati

Robert Spahr (04-05)
Visual Artist and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Visual Arts at Dowling College
and Adjunct Professor of New Media at SUNY, Purchase College, New York



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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