Building a studio practice starts here

The foundations program is a rigorous, studio based examination of the issues fundamental to art and design. This series of three courses combines critical thinking skills with an exploration of contemporary art practices, while simultaneously addressing techniques relevant to studio practice. The courses are designed to foster intellectual curiosity, visual thinking, and the ability to create while thinking critically and analytically. ART 1001 Foundations I emphasizes two-dimensional art, ART 1002 Foundations II emphasizes three-dimensional art, and ART 1003 Foundations Drawing emphasizes observational drawing.

The foundations program is designed to support each of the following degree paths:

  • BA Art & Visual Culture
  • BFA Art Education
  • BFA Graphic Design
  • BFA Studio Art


Many full and part-time faculty teach regularly in this program, which is coordinated by a Foundations Steering Committee.

Foundations Area Coordinator

Erin Ethridge

Foundations Steering Committee members

  • Anna Buckner
  • Travis Donovan
  • Erin Ethridge
  • Frankie Flood
  • Jeana Klein
  • Josh White

“The Master Remix: Tactics in Appropriation” from Foundations Drawing

“The Master Remix: Tactics in Appropriation” from Foundations Drawing

The essence of Foundations Drawing is learning how to see, and think. It provides students with an important skill set for visually and conceptually navigating through their chosen program in art and ultimately their creative life. Focusing on both traditional and contemporary practice in drawing, students are encouraged to explore a range of traditional tools and materials, including a taste of alternative and digital media, which serve to expand notions of what drawing can be.
Wood design project

Foundations II—Wood Design Project

Raphael Wenger

Collage project

Foundations I—Collage Project

Faisuly Scheurer

Media project by Amelia Kowaleski

Foundations II—Media Project

Amelia Kowaleski

With my first wood shop project, in Foundations II, I loved the mental challenge of figuring out how to realize my design; what shapes to cut, and how they would fit together without the use of glue. I made a larger-than-life potted cactus! 

Sophomore BFA Studio Art major

Larger than life View Master, a Foundations II project

Foundations II and “Larger than Life”

The “Larger Than Life” project takes common found objects from around the department, and scales them up to extraordinary sizes. The project focuses on proportionally increasing the size of a form, and reconstructing it out of cardboard to create visually accurate yet surreal experiences in relationship to the original object.  It’s an exciting time when the objects are installed throughout the building, because who doesn’t love a 5 ft. viewfinder?