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




“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives, the cumulative experience of many masters of craftsmanship.

Quality also marks the search for an ideal after necessity has been satisfied and mere usefulness achieved.” — John Ruskin


“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
— Aristotle

“Make work that matters because it shows you care. Be subtle and nuanced. Give people what they need, not what they think they want, and not what the art market dictates.” — Eric Fischl 




Manifest is much more than a gallery. Our organization is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit founded on Woodburn Avenue in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2004 by professors and students from area universities seeking to make a positive community impact. Manifest continues to be operated by professors, students, and working artists to this day. Our programming is divided into four balanced quadrants: Gallery (exhibitions), Press (publications), Artist Residency (support), and Drawing Center (education). The first three programs are housed on Woodburn Avenue. The Drawing Center Studio, located about four miles away on Central Parkway in nearby Clifton houses the fourth in what will ultimately become The Manifest Center for the Visual Arts after a planned major renovation. Manifest’s operations are funded by a mix of artist-supported revenue, state funding from the Ohio Arts Council, regional funding from ArtsWave, grants from local and national foundations, a supporting annual membership, and donations from individuals like you. Furthermore, sales of our annual publications help fund Manifest’s educational work.

Manifest’s mission is to stand for quality in the visual arts, as well as the importance of creative research, meaningful and accessible art-based experiences for the public, deep learning outside academia, the rigorous documentation of exceptional art, and the promotion of visual literacy, critical thinking, and skill development as personal and social catalysts.

The organization seeks to engage students, professionals, and the public from around the world through accessible world-class exhibits, studio programs, and publications centered on the broader visual arts.

Manifest Gallery serves as a venue for the display and experience of insightful, thought provoking art and design, and functions as a hub for creative research and innovation at all levels of artistic endeavor.

Manifest Drawing Center promotes and explores drawing, painting, film photography, and printmaking as culturally significant contemporary art forms through the pursuit of educational hands-on activities.

Manifest Press documents the organization's activities through carefully designed publications and has the goal to make the organization's projects accessible for public availability everywhere, including outside its own geographical radius.

The Manifest Artist Residency supports artists in making art and engaging the general public by providing an optimal working space and dynamic environment for meaningful growth.




Brief History and Vision:
Founded in May of 2004 by Jason Franz, Elizabeth Kauffman, and Brigid O’Kane, the Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center is located in East Walnut Hills in Cincinnati, Ohio, occupying the previously vacant storefront property of 2727 Woodburn Avenue minutes away from downtown Cincinnati, School for the Creative and Performing Arts, Northern Kentucky University, Art Academy of Cincinnati, University of Cincinnati, and Xavier University.

Manifest’s formation was, in part, a reaction to conclusive studies in major cities across the nation that have clearly established that the arts play a catalytic role in the revitalization process of depressed communities. Our location on Woodburn Avenue in East Walnut Hills (an urban neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio) proved to be ideally suited to contribute to the ongoing revitalization of that area, both as a viable business district and a culturally rich, diverse, and desirable place to visit or live. Our vision is of a creative space where the visual art and design fields can mingle, and where new creative processes, concepts, and questions can be brought forward for consideration. We believe this represents an important aspect of a healthy community. The Walnut Hills/East Walnut Hills collaborative vision statement (06 Vision 2010), wherein the arts were named as desirable contributors to future growth and quality of life, clearly echoed and supported our vision. Manifest is the living proof, well beyond a decade later, that the community vision's incorporation of the arts was sound.

Manifest is not an art retailer representing artists or dealing art to consumers. However, sales are encouraged with proceeds benefiting the artists, the operation of the gallery, and the community. Our primary mission is didactic in nature, not unlike that of a museum of art, engaging the viewing public with new, insightful, and challenging creative works on a year-round basis and supporting the positive growth of the visual arts in the region.

Manifest’s programming, in addition to exposing the community to high quality works of art by regional, national, and international artists, includes exhibits designed for or including students studying at the college level around the world. For educational purposes Manifest serves as a resource for high school art teachers and students, and other students of art young and old, offering a chance to interact with an approachable yet highly professional arts organization, thereby encouraging the consideration of a career in the visual arts as a viable option, and helping to mentor youth towards preparedness for college art study. Manifest's Drawing Center studio, located in nearby Clifton, serves as the educational program of the organization.

Manifest seeks to involve college level students of art and design, offering opportunities for collaborative exhibits, internships, and program input. Furthermore, we believe that students of art and design at the many regional institutions will benefit from more interaction with each other so Manifest strives to provide incentive for such cross-cultural academic mingling (especially within its Drawing Center programming), which will inevitably result in a stronger creative community for the city of Cincinnati and broader region.

Drawing is a key skill underlying every visual art field. To learn to draw is to learn to see, and the way we make things look is directly related to how we see. For these reasons drawing is inseparable from our vision. Aesthetic quality affects one’s state of mind, therefore an ongoing goal of Manifest is to be a “Drawing Center” whereby that fundamental discipline, along with painting, darkroom photography, and other related creative processes, is promoted, featured, and explored.



 Josephine S. Russell
Charitable Trust

Manifest is supported by sustainability funding from the Ohio Arts Council, and through the generous direct contributions of individual supporters and private foundations who care deeply about Manifest's mission for the visual arts.

gallery hours:

tues-fri 12-7pm, sat noon-5pm
closed on sun-mon

view calendar

Contribute to our Annual Fund



gallery map
2727 woodburn avenue
cincinnati, ohio 45206

drawing center map (m1)
3464 Central Parkway
cincinnati, ohio 45223



Copyright © 2023