Executive Director & Chief Curator
Visual Artist and Educator
As the chief operating officer of Manifest, Jason is involved in every aspect of the organization and oversees all programs. On the ground he coordinates the project submission process, jury process, and programming for exhibits and books as well as serving as the organization's primary grant writer. He is the first point of contact for most communications regarding projects and Manifest's programming and philosophy. He also designs Manifest's publications, exhibit layouts, and PR material, and maintains this website and the organization's Facebook presence, among many other sundry tasks.
and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Jason Franz attended the then museum-school, the Art Academy
of Cincinnati in Eden Park and
receiving his BFA
honors in 1988. During the first ten years of his career as an
working artist Jason also served as exhibition designer and
at the Cincinnati Art Museum where he played a key role in establishing the Exhibition Design Department. He returned to academic
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 the museum at this time and began
teaching. From 1997 through 2002 he developed and taught new courses
for both the Art Academy of Cincinnati and the University of Cincinnati
in the fields of both art and design. In 2002 he received a
full-time appointment to head the painting and drawing programs
University in Cincinnati. He spent two years rebuilding these
programs, solidifying his teaching philosophy, and laying
the philosophical 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
June of 2005 he left his teaching position in order
to accept the award of a second year of
paid academic leave at the University while he focused his
energy towards Manifest. In 2006, as Manifest was up and running under his continuing volunteer-directorship, he was invited to return to the University of Cincinnati to teach drawing on a part-time basis in the School of Design. From 2008 to 2011 he also served as Content Coordinator for the Foundation Design Drawing program. Jason continued teaching drawing at UC through the 2012 academic year. At that point he shifted all his teaching time towards Manifest, working to build its board of directors, add programs, and pave the way for the gallery expansion in fall of 2013. He continues to accept invitations to make presentations, provide guest critiques, and mentor students, working artists, and educators.
As an artist and educator Jason is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including an Ohio Arts Council Fellowship, a Xavier University Faculty Development Grant, two Darwin Turner teaching awards from UC, and three Summerfair Individual Artist Grants. In 2009 he was recognized with a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Art Academy of Cincinnati, and in 2011 he received a silver medal award from the Independent Publishers Association for his work on Manifest's fifth International Drawing Annual, which he curated and edited. In 2013 he received a bronze medal award from the Independent Publishers Association for his editing and design of the first International Photography Annual publication.
Jason 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
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.
Visual Artist, Photographer
We welcomed Michelle to the role of office Manager in June 2013. Previously she had served on staff in a volunteer capacity for six months. As office manager Michelle handles much of the internal on-site business of the organization. This includes communications with donors, members, board members, staff, and grantors, as well as the general office accounting associated with a non-profit business. She also heads up the publication distribution for Manifest Press, something she affectionately calls Manifest's 'frontier', and plays a key role in the coordination and production of Manifest's books.
Michelle Sanchez received her BA in Art History and Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She brings to Manifest a well rounded and determined work ethic, art enthusiasm, and desire to tackle new frontiers.
Exhibition and Drawing Center Coordinator
Katie joined Manifest in September 2012 after completing her MFA at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Originally from Villa Hills, Kentucky, she received her BFA in painting and drawing, and a BA in English composition from Northern Kentucky University. She brings three years of university teaching experience (life drawing, basic drawing, digital photography, and design), grant writing experience, and gallery experience to her dual role at Manifest.
Katie is responsible for overseeing the nuts and bolts of exhibition installation, artwork coming/going, intern training, and overall presentation of the galleries. She is also responsible for coordinating Drawing Center programming.
Amber joined Manifest in October 2013 bringing along her prior experience in marketing, development, and administration at a number of small museums. Originally from the Detroit, Michigan area, she received her BA in Art History and Museum Studies from University of Michigan, and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Northern Kentucky University.
Amber adds depth to the Manifest team, strengthening the organization's overall operations while also focusing on building the marketing and distribution of Manifest Press publications.
Manifest staff on July 23, 2013 (Planning meeting in 'Unit 3').
Pictured left to right: Tim Parsley, Michelle Sanchez, Katie Baker, and Jason Franz.
| CURRENT INTERNS and VOLUNTEER GALLERY STAFF
Christian Dallas (senior intern)
Kelia Hamilton (senior intern)
Chrissy Rother (gallery assistant and board member)
| CURRENT/PAST ASSOCIATES
Qualified professionals volunteering to support Manifest programs for one-year
periods in the areas of education, design, grantwriting, and with other key organizational needs.
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
Professor of New Media at SUNY, Purchase
College, New York
Cullen (05-07, 09-10)
Designer and Associate Professor of Graphic Design,
University of Cincinnati
Kevin Muente (05-10)
Associate Professor of Painting and Drawing, Northern Kentucky University
Matthew Litteken (07-08)
Professor of Drawing and Painting, Professional Artist
Robert Anderson (07-09)
Adjunct Professor of Drawing and Painting, Professional Artist
Matt Wizinsky (08)
Kim Shifflett (08)
Trevor Ponder (04-11)
Professional Artist, Current Graduate Student of Architecture, University of Cincinnati (2013)
Daniel O'Connor (11-13)
Adjunct Professor of Drawing and Painting, Professional Artist
Scott Ramming (11-present)
Nicholas Mancini (13-present)
Mike Bale (13-present)