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 ...No Talent Required!
Now in its 6th year running!

Led by Brigid O’Kane (nearly) every Monday since January 2018

Due to the extreme popularity of this offering, and the vibrancy of our new home on Central Parkway, these classes fill up quickly. Future spots for early 2024 can still be claimed any time in advance.


We are excited to continue unveiling our amazing space and environment of M1 at 3464 Central Parkway as a new context for creativity and contemplation! Bear in mind our transition to the new facility will take time, and so various procedures may evolve over the coming months and spaces may be updated from time to time. Please be patient with us as we grow!


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 practices.

Research studies have indicated that the practice of mindfulness is strongly correlated with many benefits including improved health, a calmer mind, stress relief, more restful sleep and a greater sense of wellbeing.

Drawing is similar to meditation, in that it requires focused attention on subject matter being drawn. The drawing process is just as important as the drawing being created, and in this course process is emphasized within the present moment.

“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." This program embraces this concept by weaving together drawing with mindfulness, creating a transformative experience in Life, Mind and Being—we just happen to use pencils and pens to get a grip on life.

This weekly offering is designed for anyone, from those with no skill, talent, or experience, to those who have studied art all their lives.  It serves trained artists as well as non-artists. Founding principles of this course include the notion that drawing is a lens with which to see the world. Building upon this idea, Drawing as Mindfulness is a thoughtful approach to drawing and an invitation for you to get to know yourself on a deeper level. The class primarily focuses on practices of observational drawing. Participants interested in other practices should get approval from the instructor.


“Drawing is a way to communicate that which cannot be said with words. Communication within the wordless realm requires presence. Therefore, who you are being during the drawing process is just as important as what you ultimately produce."

— Brigid O’Kane


Principles of visual organization 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 creatives use to make works of art, non-artists and experienced artists can learn more about themselves, their world, and being in time. Drawing as Mindfulness is not about creating a wonderful product (a 'work of art'). Yes, drawings will be made—usually of objects from nature provided by the instructor. The real product is a quality experience. Participants in this course report experiencing a deeper appreciation of practicing a form of visual art. With a pencil and eraser, participants develop an enlivened connection to life and art, which enhances their relationship to the world and people around them.

Join a 'rolling' 8-week group of like-minded individuals to explore how being in 'the studio' is like being in a church, an ancient old-growth forest, or prehistoric cave. The experience dissolves assumed barriers between what one thinks about oneself relative to life and art. It alters how we process the reality of being connected in the world. 

Each week will include basic and refreshing guided drawing sessions as well as philosophical thinking structured around 8 principles of visual organization and their opposites. Classes are 2 hours. Each class is facilitated by Brigid O'Kane who brings her expertise and life insights to each class. Insightful discussions and thoughtful drawing processes are all central to the practice of mindfulness and are anchored in the 'principles of the day'. 

Level of Study

The class is open to anyone. Those from all levels of drawing experience are welcome. The course is for those who are open to participating in guided drawing experiences and friendly conversations about the crossovers between life and art. No talent is required, only curiosity and an open mind. 



8-week Session: $225
Covers 8 consecutive weeks*, 2hrs per week.

One makeup session is added to the end of an 8-week session for one absence. Students are also encouraged to attend the Drawing Center’s FREE Open Studios offered every Friday and Sunday to practice the topics covered in class each Monday.


Additional Study Options

Returning Participants Discounted Rate: $175 for new 8 week session.
A 22% discount offered to returning course participants re-registering within one week of their prior session's conclusion. Mindfulness is a lifelong practice, and Manifest offers this discount to encourage ongoing participation.

Half-Year Mindfulness Option: $520
Offering 26 consecutive weeks of mindfulness study! This package offers a roughly 28% discount for those wanting to commit to ongoing study. Up to 3 make-up sessions included.

Full-Year Mindfulness Option: $975
Offering 52 consecutive weeks of mindfulness study! This package offers a roughly 33% discount for the die hard practitioners to study in the sanctuary for the practice, study, and experience of the visual arts at M1. Up to 6 make-up sessions included.


FREE Open Studio Fridays and Sundays: Participants in Drawing as Mindfulness are encouraged to attend free Open Creative Research Studio Sessions on any Friday afternoon, 1:30-4pm or Sunday afternoon, 4:30-7:00pm as an extension of this class. This is optional for those who are interested. Free tickets to Open Studios can be claimed here.

* With a no-refund policy, it is important that participants are aware of the nature of the class before signing up for a long duration of study. Most participants will want to experience at least one 8-week session before opting for the longer packages.


Every Monday, 7-9pm**
(Doors open at 6:45 - Come early, get set up, and mingle) 

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

** Seating is limited. This class is very much in demand! Early registration is recommended.

Upcoming Session Start Dates with Open Seats:

April 29, 2024 (CLASS FULL)
May 6, 2024 (CLASS FULL)
May 13, 2024 (CLASS FULL)
May 20, 2024 (CLASS FULL)
June 3, 2024 (CLASS FULL)
June 10, 2024
June 17, 2024
June 24, 2024
July 1, 2024

More 2024 dates coming soon!


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: sessions falling on U.S. holidays generally skip dates too.

** Class will not be held on the following dates in early 2024. Any session block that includes one of these dates will be extended by one week to ensure 8 weeks of class. Please plan accordingly:

March 11 - Spring Break

May 27 - Memorial 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” or slightly larger in size with white paper.

  • Eraser: Any firm white vinyl eraser such as the Staedtler Mars Eraser. A mechanical eraser with retractable case and/or a kneaded eraser is highly recommended.

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

  • Pencil: Any standard #2 pencil. However 2B, HB and 2H graphite pencils are highly recommended. Participants can optionally bring a set of graphite pencils of additional varying hardness.

  • Ultra-Fine Black Sharpie Marker: Additional thicknesses are optional.

  • Ball Point Pen: any color (optional)

*Two highly recommended art supply stores include Suder's downtown on Vine Street, and Plaza with two locations, one on West McMillan near UC not far from our location, and one on Montgomery Road in Kenwood.


What people are saying...


"Back in 2021, I took your Drawing as Mindfulness class through Manifest, and it changed my life. I had no experience drawing before and only took your class because a friend was doing it and didn't want to do it by herself. It turns out that I absolutely LOVE drawing and making of all kinds, and just a year after taking your class, I quit my job and went back to school to study art and get my teaching degree to be an art educator. I've learned so many things and will be finishing coursework at the end of next semester, followed by a semester of student teaching. So I wanted to thank you, Brigid, for your kindness and your patience. Your words have stayed with me and wow, the ideas you sent me away with are priceless!"

— Breyan Neyland from Riverside, Iowa (now an Art Educator!)

(Breyan studied Drawing as Mindfulness remotely with us during our Covid pandemic, and is just one of many nuanced success stories coming from this class and the Manifest mission.)


"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 2018. When my eight weeks were up I signed up for another eight week session, [and I haven't stopped since]. 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) As of December 2022 Kurt is still a weekly participant!







Subject matter for Drawing as Mindfulness varies widely from week to week, with beauty, joy, play, humor, and simplicity in mind, all as ways to explore one's attitude towards the world around them, through the tip of a pencil or pen and their hands and eyes.





About the Instructor

Brigid O'Kane is a cofounder of Manifest and has been a Professor of Design at the University of Cincinnati for over two decades. 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 ongoing weekly offering, now in its fourth year, 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

  Entrance to Drawing Center programs at M1

LOCATION NOTE: Drawing as Mindfulness was among the first programs to transition to Manifest's new home at 3464 Central Parkway (M1) as of May 9, 2022.

The 15,000 square foot historic 90 year old French Normandy style building on its one-acre site in Clifton near Camp Washington is easily accessible from the entire Greater Cincinnati region. On-site parking, grounds, and the welcoming neighborhood of Clifton Hills promise to make this permanent home for Manifest an ideal place to experience, practice, and learn.

We are eager to share the amazing space and environment with participants! Please bear in mind our transition to the new space will take time, and so various procedures may evolve over the coming months and the next two years as we develop plans for major renovations. Please be patient with us as we grow!

As always, drawing horses and easels as well as storage shelf space are available on a first-come first served basis. Supplementary seating, including chairs, stools, and cushions is also available. Participants should provide for their own supplies and drawing board.



Map to Manifest's M1 Studios   |   Studio Calendar   |   Darkroom Calendar


 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.

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

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2727 woodburn avenue
cincinnati, ohio 45206

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



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