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




Jason Franz
Founding 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 exhibit submission process, jury process, and programming for exhibits and books as well as serving as the organization's primary grant writer and education director. He is the staff lead for Manifest's programming and philosophy, and serves on Manifest's board of directors.

Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Jason Franz attended the then museum-school, the Art Academy of Cincinnati in Eden Park and Mt. Adams, receiving his BFA degree in 1988. From 1987 through 1998 Jason served as exhibition designer and preparator at the Cincinnati Art Museum where he played a key role in establishing the Exhibition Design Department. Returning to academia in 1996 he received an MFA degree in Painting at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning in 1998. From 1997 through 2002 he developed and taught new courses for the Art Academy of Cincinnati and the University of Cincinnati in the fields of both art and design, and in 2002 he was appointed to head the painting and drawing programs at Xavier 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 studios. In 2005 he accepted a second year of paid academic leave at the University in order to focus his energy towards Manifest. In 2006, as Manifest was up and running under his continued volunteer-directorship, he was recruited by then School Director and future College Dean, Robert Probst, to return to the University of Cincinnati to teach drawing in the School of Design. From 2008 to 2011 he served as Content Coordinator for the Foundation Design Drawing program, the curriculum and teaching roster for which he reinvigorated with results that carry through to this day. Jason continued teaching drawing in the School of Design through the 2012 academic year. At that time he shifted all his focus towards Manifest, working to build its board of directors, add programs and staff, and pave the way for the gallery's expansion in fall of 2013, Drawing Center expansion in 2016 (including the addition of a darkroom and photography program), and the purchase of Manifest's permanent home (m1) in 2021 including the relocation of the Drawing Center program in 2022 to the new Central Parkway location. In 2019 he developed his first class at Manifest. "Lyceum: a culture in the pursuit of quality" was a year long weekly course for long-time participants of the organization's co-learning program.

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 the University of Cincinnati, and four Summerfair Individual Artist Grants. In 2009 he was recognized with a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Art Academy of Cincinnati. He is a seven-time Independent Publishers Association (IPPY) award recipient for his work on Manifest Press’s Manifest Exhibition Annual, International Drawing Annual, and International Photography Annual publications. Jason has published articles and given lectures, panel talks, and presentations about Manifest, the philosophy and practice of art, and drawing as an art form across the U.S., and continues to exhibit his drawings nationally. He also accepts invitations to write articles, make presentations, provide guest critiques, and mentor students, working artists, and educators.

Jason merges a passionate, motivated sense for quality developed in his decade of 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.

Erin Corley
Operations Manager
Visual Artist and Educator

We welcomed Erin to the Manifest team in November 2017. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Erin received her BFA from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning with dual concentrations in both Photography and Printmaking. Following graduation, she relocated to Savannah, Georgia to attend the graduate program at the Savannah College of Art and Design where she received her MFA in Photography, and later went on to work with a non-profit organization in Upstate New York. There she served in an administrative capacity while utilizing her creative background to develop much of the organization’s marketing material. Her time in the non-profit world cultivated a love for philanthropy and community involvement that continues to inform her life. Erin has maintained a connection with Manifest throughout the years, having participated in our competitive juried exhibitions and publications from as early as 2007. She returned to Cincinnati in 2015, and is excited to help foster and support Manifest’s mission in the years to come, offering unique strengths resulting from the blend of her academic and creative backgrounds with her non-profit business experience.

As the Operations Manager, Erin is involved in 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 accounting associated with a non-profit business, translating organizational vision and on-the-ground operational strategies to all staff and volunteers, and serving as the common denominator between board, administration, and staff. She also heads up the publication distribution for Manifest Press, and plays a key role in the coordination and production of Manifest's books.





Katie Baker
Senior Exhibition Coordinator and Curatorial Assistant
Visual Artist and Educator

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. Upon her arrival Katie brought three years of university teaching experience (life drawing, basic drawing, digital photography, and design), grant writing experience, and gallery experience to her role at Manifest.

Over the years Katie has been involved in many aspects of Manifest's evolution, playing a key role in the organization's success. She continues to be responsible for overseeing the nuts and bolts of exhibition installation, artwork coming/going, intern recruitment and training, aspects of exhibit documentation and promotion, and overall presentation of the galleries. With her long tenure at Manifest she also supports organizational development, curatorial efforts, and teaches the occasional special course within Manifest's Drawing Center program.



photo by Nikita Gross



Adam Mysock
Education and Studio Program Manager
Visual Artist and Educator

Adam joined Manifest's team in July 2017 to take on the greatly expanded role of coordinating Manifest's Drawing Center program. This came after his return to Cincinnati to spend a year as one of Manifest's 2016/17 Artists in Residence during which he became intimately familiar with the organization's mission, vision, and operations.

Originally from Cincinnati, Adam received his BFA degree in Painting and Art History from Tulane University (New Orleans, Louisiana) in 2004. He then went on to earn an MFA from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Illinois in 2007.

Immediately following his studies, Adam served as the first coordinator for the Cincinnati-based nonprofit ArtWorks's mural program—overseeing their first 17 murals. During this time he also taught drawing at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio. In 2008, Mysock joined the faculty of Tulane University’s Newcomb Art Department, where he taught all levels of painting and drawing, as well as the graduate seminar on pedagogy. During his eight years at Tulane, Adam helped pilot departmental recruitment and retention programs and led a task force focused on establishing the Department’s Foundations program. As a working artist Adam's work has been exhibited and published both nationally and internationally and is in private collections throughout the world.

Adam manages all efforts related to developing and maintaining Manifest's Drawing Center educational offering, events, facility, staffing, and programs, including providing outreach to local high schools, regional partners, and national universities.





Kevin Leigh-Manuell
Program Coordinator (studio and publications)
Visual Artist and Educator

Kevin joined Manifest’s team in May of 2023. Originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana, he received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Saint Francis with a focus in studio arts. In 2012, Kevin relocated to Philadelphia to attend the graduate program at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art were he received his Master’s of Fine Art with a concentration in drawing.

Following his graduate studies, Kevin began a career with a non-profit organization in New Jersey, where he developed curriculum and instructed youth art programs. During this time he was able to combine his artistic expertise with a passion for meaningful community development and outreach. Kevin has taught drawing, figure drawing and color theory with Brookdale Community College in New Jersey, as well as drawing fundamentals with the University of Cincinnati.

Kevin joined Manifest at the turn of its 20th season, and during a time of growth and maturation for our artist-run organization. His efforts are focused on supporting Manifest's expanding educational studio programs in our new home on Central Parkway, and growing the reach and impact of Manifest Press publications.



Taryn Zust
Operations Assistant
Visual Artist

Taryn first joined Manifest as an intern in January of 2018. She was our first co-op student from the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP Fine Arts program. Taryn proved herself to be such a great fit within our small team and organization that we hired her as Operations Assistant once her academic co-op concluded.

Born and raised in Cincinnati, Taryn completed her BFA with special interest in drawing, printmaking, and sculpture at the University of Cincinnati. Her interest in art and design has been cultivated by a vibrant local art scene, imparting a passion for craftsmanship and quality and those centers that further the connection between community and creative exploration.

Taryn’s job at Manifest serves as a supportive connector between the large work and projects handled by our program and administrative staff. With a keen eye for detail, a refined command of the written word, and a can-do attitude, Taryn brings a vibrant enthusiasm to our team, helping Manifest to realize many of its behind the scenes efforts all while supporting artists and carrying on our mission for quality.







Vernay Monroe
Exhibitions and Studio Program Assistant
Visual Artist

Vernay joined Manifest in mid-2021 as part of the co-op program of the School of Art at the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning (DAAP). His charm, attention to detail, and eagerness to learn proved we couldn't live without him, so when his one-semester co-op appointment ended we hired him to fill the new position of Education and Studio Program Assistant which expanded to include Exhibitions support in 2023. While working at Manifest part-time, Vernay continued his studies in the School of Art at DAAP earning his BFA degree in May 2023.






 CURRENT STUDENT INTERNS, CO-OPS, and VOLUNTEER STAFF  (people you may see around Manifest)

Alexandra Franz
Gallery and Drawing Center Intern, Summer 2024

Alexandra is a University of Cincinnati student majoring in Art History at the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. She is also pursuing a minor in Fine Art and a certificate in Museum Studies. In addition to being a student, Alexandra is a practicing artist, and has taught private lessons at the Manifest Drawing Center since she was 13. In addition to her internship duties at the Gallery and Drawing Center Alexandra moderates the Center's Sunday Open Figure Portrait Sessions on a weekly basis which she has done since mid-2023. Her works are made primarily from observation in oil on panel or paper and her drawings and paintings have been included in multiple professional competitive exhibits around the U.S., with a solo exhibition scheduled for early 2025 in Dayton, Ohio.

Elsa Lick
Drawing Center Intern, Summer 2024



Nev Marie
Gallery and Drawing Center Co-op, Summer 2024

Nev Marie is an artist and soon-to-be summer graduate of University of Cincinnati with a bachelors in Fine Arts, with focuses in quilting, textile sculpture, painting, and drawing. In addition to school, Nev runs a caricature and face paint business in the Cincinnati area, managing a small group of artists, and also participates in research projects, as recently displayed in their senior thesis show with the work “The Modern Mulatto: Face of America.” Following graduation, Nev hopes to finalize and publish the research collected for their thesis show as well as get involved with local volunteer and community quilters groups.

Madison Staheli
Gallery and Drawing Center Intern, Summer 2024



Scores of highly qualified professionals volunteering to support Manifest programs in the areas of education, design, grant writing, and with other key organizational needs have contributed to Manifest's two-decades of growth and programming impact.

Current and former paid instructors and current volunteers in our studio program are listed here.

Those interested in supporting Manifest with the gift of time and expertise can email us here to discuss options to do so.




From the Archives

Most of Manifest's staff and board of directors on May 24, 2022
(At memorial celebration prior to the launch of programming at M1 - Manifest's new permanent campus). Pictured left to right: Shelby Shadwell (2021-2022 artist in residence),
Alexandra Franz (instructor and studio moderator), Erin Corley (operations manager), Brigid O'Kane (co-founder, board member), Chris Coy (board president), Gabe Applegate (board member), Laura Blackorby (board member), William Williams (board member), Debbie Heuer (former president, emeritus board member), Carrie Pollick (board member), Katie Baker (senior exhibition coordinator and curatorial assistant), Adam Mysock (education and studio program manager), Andrew Beiting (board member), Jason Franz (co-founder, executive director), Vernay Monroe (program assistant).


Manifest staff on July 23, 2013 (Planning meeting in 'Unit 3'). Pictured left to right: Tim Parsley, Michelle Sanchez, Katie Baker, and Jason Franz.






 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

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gallery map
2727 woodburn avenue
cincinnati, ohio 45206

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



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