The Foundations Program is intended to provide a challenging and comprehensive common initial experience for art majors while also offering a broad introduction to artistic practice and ideation for all students. The use and understanding of formal, structural aspects of art – including design principles and quantitative functions such as perspective – is emphasized. Students are also exposed to a variety of methods and materials, as well as conceptual and contemporary/historical contexts. The handling of form, concept, and content, and the vocabulary used to describe it should ultimately change how students think and see. Creative and critical thinking are fundamental to art and are  also stressed at the introductory level. Art is a physical and expressive act. This shared gateway into the art program should foster an early sense of artistic community that leads to a richer discourse within all areas of art and design.


Four classes comprise the Foundations area – Concepts and Practices in Contemproary Art & Design, Drawing I, Color and Design, and Three-Dimensional Form. These classes are studio-based, intensive, and prerequisite to all other Studio Art courses. The Foundations area faculty include three full-time Professors as well as graduate assistants from our expanding MFA program. Class capacities are held to between fifteen and twenty students per class to allow for close contact with instructors and ample working space.


Foundations classes are held in three classrooms in Kresge Art Center. Kresge also contains an art store, visual resource library, two exhibition galleries, two installation project spaces, and the Form from Thought digital fabrication lab. The Drawing classroom includes adjustable drafting tables as well as drawing horses and various still-life forms. The 3-D area has access to a well-equipped woodshop and a separate, ventilated plaster area in the sculpture facility. A woodshop assistant is available during classes for further technical support. A number of faculty members currently have studios in Kresge, lending further to students’ exposure to professional art practice.