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



Drawing as Mindfulness

Find Your Center!

A Weekly Breath of Fresh Air ...NoTalent Required!

Led by Brigid O’Kane



Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one's attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training.

Research studies have indicated that the practice of mindfulness is strongly correlated with greater well-being and perceived health.

“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.”

— Joseph Campbell

Some say "Art is Life." If this is true, then this new program at Manifest is a Life Class, a Mind Class, or a Class on Being—we just happen to use pencils and pens to get a grip on life.

Many of Manifest's Drawing Center offerings focus on making artists better, and making better art. This serves many aspiring and trained artists well, but can be a barrier to participation for non-artists. Yet our founding principles include the notion that being in a studio, and using drawing as a lens with which to see the world and get to know yourself can be incredibly meaningful for anyone. This weekly offering is designed for anyone, from those with no skill, talent, or experience, to those who have studied art all their lives.

In this class, who we are being during the act of drawing is more important than what we ultimately produce.

Drawing and design concepts such as negative space, balance, harmony, proportion, and movement, among others, merit exploring in life as much as in art. Through the same processes that artists use to make art, non-artists can learn about themselves, about their world, about being in time. Drawing as Mindfulness is not about creating a wonderful product (a 'work of art'). Yes, drawings will be made—usually of simple objects brought in by the participants or provided by the instructor. But the real product is a quality experience, a renewed understanding of the value of practicing a form of visual art with a simple tool like a pencil or pen, and an enlivened connection to the world and people around you.

Join a 'rolling' 8-week group of fellow humans to explore how being in 'the studio' is like being in a church, an ancient old-growth forest, or prehistoric cave—allowing for the dissolving of assumed barriers between what one thinks about oneself relative to 'art' and how one processes the reality of being an individual in the world.

Each week will include basic and refreshing drawing guidance as well as guided philosophical thinking structured around 7 principles of design and their opposites. Classes are 2 hours. Each class will be facilitated by Brigid O'Kane who will bring her expertise and life insights to the group at hand. Discussion, sketching, and some writing will all center on the practice of mindfulness anchored by the 'principles of the day'.

Level of Study

The class is open to anyone—those from all levels of experience who are willing to participate as part of an evolving group for all 8 weeks of guided direction, and involvement in discussions about the crossovers between life and art. No talent is required, only curiosity and a positive spirit. 



$200 (covers 8 consecutive weeks*, 2hrs per week)

To encourage ongoing mindfulness practice at the Drawing Center, a 25% discount is offered to returning course participants re-registering within one week of their prior session's conclusion.

NEW! Walk-in Option: Those who have taken the full 8-week course at least once may later register for walk-in attendance on a per-day basis at $25 per visit to any Monday session. Walk-in participants must register at least one week in advance of the date of attendance.


Every Monday, 7-9pm
(Doors open at 6:30 - Come early, get set up, and mingle) 

Ongoing, weekly in 8-week overlapping blocks. Sessions will be removed from this list when all seats are full. Session dates further in the future will be added several weeks out.

** Seating is limited. Early registration is recommended.

Session: March 25 - May 13
Session: April 1 - May 20
Session: April 8 - May 27
Session: April 15 - June 3
Session: April 22 - June 10
Session: April 29 - June 17
Session: May 6 - June 24
Session: May 13 - July 1
Session: May 20 - July 8
Session: May 27 - July 15
Session: June 3 - July 22
Session: June 10 - July 29
Session: June 17 - August 5
Session: June 24 - August 12
Session: July 1 - August 19
Session: July 8 - August 26
Session: July 15 - September 2*
Session: July 22 - September 9*
Session: July 29 - September 16*
Session: August 5 - September 23*
Session: August 12 - September 30*
Session: August 19 - October 7*
Session: August 26 - October 14*

Sessions are limited to 15 participants max. Enrollment can begin on any scheduled Monday*, and will continue for 8 weeks.**

* see registration for details and limitations. Please note: session dates marked * skip dates.

Class will not be held on the following dates. Any session that includes one of these dates will be extended by one week to ensure 8 weeks of class:

March 18, 2019
September 2, 2019 (Labor Day)
December 23, 2019 (Holiday Break)
January 30, 2019 (Holiday Break)
March 16, 2020
September 07, 2020 (Labor Day)

** registration is only available in 8-week blocks for new participants. We strongly feel the full benefit of the program only comes from at least one full cycle of the 8-week program. Repeat and ongoing enrollment is encouraged for those who would like ongoing practice. The program is designed to gradually evolve to ensure a fresh experience across a full year.


Class Size

Limit: 15    


  • Sketchbook: approximately 8.5”x11” in size with white paper

  • Eraser: any firm white vinyl eraser such as the Staedtler Mars Eraser

  • Pencil Sharpener: Brass Bullet Sharpener or single hole sharpener with plastic dome that collections shavings

  • Pencil: Any standard #2 pencil will do, however a basic set with more variety of hardnesses, including 2B, HB and 2H, is recommended. 

  • Ball Point Pen: any color

  • Ultra Fine Black Sharpie Marker: additional thicknesses are welcome in addition to the ultra fine


What people are saying...

"It wasn't about drawing for me anymore, because I can't draw to save my life, but it was about me learning to be mindful, peaceful and have a sense of calm. Drawing as Mindfulness changed my life in ways I never thought possible. Three weeks into the class, I decided to take all that I learned and apply it to my everyday life. Six weeks later, I spend every morning meditating, journaling and spending quiet time. My family noticed a change in my attitude and a general calm to my being and that was good for everyone! Being mindful has even helped me handle every day stress and the occasional road rage driver." 

— Lauri Z. (stay at home mom)


"To me it connects the strands of principles of opposites, poetry, drawing, thought, people and pieces of myself I forgot existed. Listening to the insights of other members of this class is germinal and awe-inspiring at the same time. Brigid makes this class stimulating and productive for individuals that participate. She puts a great deal of thought and energy into the building of our weekly encounters. She rounds out this class with her remarkable drawing skills and knowledge that, coupled with a personable grace, enable her to provide growth and direction to anyone at whatever level of drawing experience.  

This class has reminded me that I love drawing, the magic of line and marks opening up the dark and light of surface." 

— Kitty S. (retired customer service rep.)


"My first Drawing as Mindfulness class was in January of this year. When my eight weeks were up I signed up for another eight week session, and I’m now starting my 5th time. Why do I keep coming back? When I was younger, much younger, I enjoyed drawing, sketching, and doodling. I never took any art classes in school so my skill was limited and other things became more important. Then I heard that Manifest was starting a drawing class combined with meditative, mindfulness practices where any skill level was welcomed. I thought this could be a good way to finally start improving my drawing skills and expand my ongoing attempts at being more mindful. And that’s just what these classes have turned out to be. Brigid is very good at explaining and demonstrating the numerous principles that can be used to improve everyone’s drawing abilities. The mindfulness practice running thru the class allows everyone the chance to have a couple of hours each week of experiencing what this means and feels like. If they like it, hopefully they will start including it throughout the rest of the week. As for me, it’s nice to be around people who are making the effort to improve their lives and encourages me to “up my game“. I look forward to each class and always leave feeling I’ve learned something." 

— Kurt P. (retired machinist)

LOCATION: Unless otherwise specified, all courses are hosted at Manifest's Drawing Center Studios in Madisonville at 4905 Whetsel Avenue (second floor) (see map and direction links below). Manifest's studio facility provides two classrooms, a darkroom, and a processing room all totalling nearly 4000 square-feet. The studios are outfitted with professional equipment, furniture, and study aids.









About the Instructor

Brigid O'Kane is a cofounder of Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center and has been a Professor of Design at the University of Cincinnati for the past eighteen years. She holds degrees from the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit (BFA, Industrial Design) and the University of Cincinnati (MFA, Drawing). Brigid blends her creative interests in visual art, design, and environmental responsibility with her expertise in the academic arena of design education. For her, drawing and the basic principles of design provide a thread that joins all of these interests, and empower a life well-lived.

This new ongoing weekly offering was built out of a collaborative pilot course between Manifest Drawing Center and The Hive, co-taught by Brigid and Troy Bronsink in fall of 2017. Drawing as Mindfulness focuses and expands upon the in-studio and hands-on components of that popular collaborative.

Brigid crafted this course inspired by her interests in drawing and meditation. She brings an additional layer of awareness to the studio, as her previous work led towards her certification in the Conscious Feminine Leadership Academy offered through Women Writing for (a) Change

About Drawing as Mindfulness Brigid states:

"Drawing, as a mindful act of seeing, teaches us to look more closely. With practice, we see what is there to be seen, not what we think we see. When we look without attachment to a specific outcome we experience a compassionate detachment, which is liberating. Through mindful drawing we make deeper connections and find a new freedom in drawing and in life."



Map to Studio    |   Studio Calendar    |   Darkroom Calendar


Manifest's 15th season is funded in part by a grant from the Robert H. Reakirt Foundation, PNC Bank, Trustee. This season's programming is also supported by an impact grant from ArtsWave, by a sustainability grant from the Ohio Arts Council, and through 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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