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First Year Studio Foundations

Art Foundations

The First Year Foundations in the Department of Art & Art History is a comprehensive, hands-on introduction to the techniques, processes, and principles involved in the creation of contemporary art and design.

In a series of eight half-semester studio courses taken over two semesters (three semesters for BFA in Graphic Design), students will build technical skills through exposure to various art mediums and apply them to assignments that explore the fundamental design concepts of visual art-making. By engaging in both solitary and collaborative problem-solving, students will learn how to work with different materials, articulate visual ideas, and think critically in the evaluation of the resulting solutions.

Together, these eight courses provide vital, collaborative experiences for the undergraduate student pursuing a career in the visual arts, and comprise the required foundation year for the following degree programs:

– BFA in Art Teaching
BFA in Studio Art, Ceramics Emphasis
BFA in Studio Art, Illustration Emphasis
BFA in Studio Art, Painting & Drawing Emphasis
– BFA in Studio Art, Printmaking Emphasis
– BFA in Studio Art, Photography and Digital Imaging Emphasis
– BFA in Studio Art, Sculpture Intermedia Emphasis
– BFA in Graphic Design

Course Structure

The eight studio modules (in color) may be taken in any order, in any combination, in either semester. It is advised to take the art history classes in the order suggested.

Studio Course Descriptions

Each course covers a different emphasis on the studio art programs offered in The Department of Art & Art History. The courses are designed so all studio majors learn the introductory design skills and interdisciplinary concepts needed to begin their contemporary studio art education.


This lecture class provides students with a strong initiation to the many facets of art, focusing primarily on the last hundred years. Slides and films supplemented by dialogue acquaint students with traditional forms, procedures, and aesthetics existing today within painting, sculpture, crafts, and graphic design. Students become familiar with the faculty, curriculum, and language of the Department.


This class introduces the discipline of art history through such defining issues as the respective roles of tradition and innovation in the production and appreciation of art; the relation of art and visual culture to its broader intellectual and historical contexts; the role of display and exchange in creating meaning in art; and the changing concepts of the artist, style, and art itself. Representative examples will be selected from different time periods and geographic areas, according to the instructor’s area of expertise.


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