Manifest Gallery Acquires Former Central Parkway Funeral Home for Visionary Expanded Permanent Location

“Manifest at M1 will be like a museum, a library, a church, a school or a gymnasium—focused on the visual arts."

click to enlarge Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center's new home. - PHOTO: EDWARD G. DETZEL
Photo: Edward G. Detzel
Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center's new home.

Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center has announced the purchase of a 13,000-square-foot stately brick building at the corner of Central Parkway and Clifton Hills Avenue. It is adjacent to Cincinnati State University and will become Manifest’s new and permanent home.

The building, at 3464 Central Parkway, was constructed in 1932 and had been vacant for several years, but had housed a funeral home. Among its features, according to a past real-estate listing, are a grand first-floor showroom, a second-floor boardroom, a three-room apartment and on-site parking. Manifest’s purchase price was $680,000, said Jason Franz, its executive director, via email.

“We are going to reverse its previous function, in a sense,” said Franz, implying Manifest would be infusing the space with new life.

Manifest began in 2004 as a nonprofit arts organization founded by professors and students from University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. It has had a gallery space at 2727 Woodburn Ave. in East Walnut Hills since 2004. It has also had a more recent temporary space for its Drawing Center on East McMillan Street in Walnut Hills, but plans to move that to the new location by mid-2022. (The Drawing Center had lost its lease in Madisonville in 2019.)

Following a phased, three-year transition into that space while funding and project goals continue to develop, it will become The Manifest Center for the Visual Arts, according to a press release that also identifies the future entity as M1.

“Manifest at M1 will be like a museum, a library, a church, a school or a gymnasium—focused on the visual arts,” the release says.

That new space could have entire floors devoted to drawing, painting and photography, including a wing containing a traditional darkroom for photo processing. The building could also allow for multiple galleries, a bookstore and private studios for resident artists and scholars. Manifest’s planned move puts it between three other neighborhoods with expanding visions for the nonprofit arts organizations.

The Clifton Cultural Arts Center is planning a permanent home at 3412 Clifton Ave.; Northside’s PAR-Projects has a fundraising drive underway for expansion, and Camp Washington’s Wave Pool has been growing its programming and staff, moving forward with residencies for artists to create “food-based social practice art projects in a space designed to both reach intended audiences in a real and accessible way while also offering the context of an arts center to best publicize and offer curatorial accreditation for the works created.”

Manifest has also played a key role in the revival of the East Walnut Hills shopping district along Woodburn and Madison avenues; art walks including Manifest have been popular events, at least before the pandemic. But Manifest could continue its presence there, Franz said in his email.

“The gallery’s very (very) long lease of 20 years on Woodburn ends at the end of 2024. We are not sure what will happen then, but our board has wanted to secure a home the organization would own outright nevertheless, because property costs are increasing and our space needs for both halves of our programming are rather specific and hard to find in a workable location. (We have looked and looked for years!)"

“If our funding and project goals are successful, my vision is that we’ll retain our space on Woodburn in addition to having the bulk of our programming at the Central Parkway location,” he continued. “There are a lot of questions that will need to be answered before we know for sure if that will be possible. But I hope so, and am very excited by what that would allow us to do.”

As far as how much money is needed for everything Manifest wants, Franz said it’s a little early to say.

“The lead funding from two sources, which helped push us over the line to obtain (the building), really made all the difference,” he said via email. “And there is more pledged from one of the sources as a challenge match. I am hesitant to share more on that until we’ve got things lined up on our end marketing wise."

“We will be running a capital campaign, and it will be significant,” Franz continued. “We have contracted with a local firm to help us with that, but want to be on the same page with them before we announce our partnership. That work has only just officially started on paper this week, so I’m sure we’ll have lots more to share in the near future.”

Learn more about Manifest at manifestgallery.org.

Stay connected with CityBeat. Subscribe to our newsletters, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google News, Apple News and Reddit.

Send CityBeat a news or story tip or submit a calendar event.

Scroll to read more Visual Arts articles
Join the CityBeat Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join CityBeat Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.