It all starts here!

The Foundations program is a first-year experience for students majoring in Digital Media Design, Art Studio, and Art Education where they learn the fundamentals of drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, and digital media, and critical image analysis. It is an exciting journey into the fundamental skills and experiences that students need to feel confident as thinkers and makers as they begin their creative studies. In each area, students expand their understanding of color, observation, composition, time, materials, and space. As an introductory investigation into the core of visual thought and expression, students practice multiple approaches to image analysis and creative problem solving as they begin to develop their own unique voice.

What is Foundations?

The Foundations program is a first-year experience for students majoring in Digital Media Design, Art Studio, and Art Education. It is an introductory investigation into the core of visual thought, expression, and creativity. Students engage in a diverse range of art making possibilities through rigorous inquiry into contemporary art and design practices, including critical analysis and creative problem solving, design thinking, the nexus between art theory and a studio practice, a range of material exploration and compositional strategies.  

After completion of the Foundations Program, students have knowledge of a wide variety of contemporary practices and approaches, and an introductory understanding of personal voice in their work that can be developed in upper-level courses. 

What You'll Learn

In Foundations students learn the puzzle pieces of “making” for artists and designers and how they creatively fit together. As part of the puzzle, you will probably create a huge sculpture out of cardboard; you will learn to draw what you see and learn how to see through your drawing; you will paint, make collages, and use other mixed media; you will make photographs and videos, exhibit your work in our galleries, and learn how to talk about your work and the work of other students.   

Class sizes are small so students can build community with other students, collaborate, and offer feedback to each other. Here, students will develop their first professional network, understand design thinking and creative problem-solving while making exciting works of art and design.  

Faculty will expect you to know what you learned in your Foundations classes. If you don’t understand the basics of art and design on a deep level, you will not succeed and thrive in your advanced course work nor in your career.  

In your first year we encourage you to join student art groups like: SLIP (ceramics), SCRAP (metal arts), Back Alley Press (Printmedia) or other student organizations across campus. 


Rae Goodwin / Professor 
Bob Shay / Professor 
Forest Kelley / Assistant Professor 
John Norris  / Assistant Professor 
Lee Ann Paynter / Senior Lecturer 
Heather Stratton / Lecturer 
Paul Rodgers / Lecturer 
Jeremy Colbert / Lecturer and Staff Technician 
Fuko Ito / Visiting Assistant Professor 
Patrick Adams / Part-time Instructor 
Ivy Johnson Flemming / Part-time Instructor 
Amy Hadden / Part-time Instructor 
Rowe Moser / Part-time Instructor 
Jessica Whittington / Part-time Instructor

Art Studio BA, BFA


A studio art degree prepares you for the creative life you plan to live and opens the door to an inventive career full of exploration, critical thinking, and a practice based in hands-on making

Art Education BA


Art Education students take a variety of courses throughout the four-year program to build a strong foundation in studio art and art history, along with the theory and practices of teaching visual art.

Digital Media Design BS


Students can emphasize areas like commercial photography or graphic design, or take coursework in web design and development, professional printmaking, or animation and fabrication.

Created 07/16/2021
Last Updated 02/09/2023