This immersive and innovative first-year experience is designed to provide undergraduate students with all the skills they will need to move forward within their major, whether that be graphic design, painting and drawing, photography, printmaking, sculpture, the BS in visual arts, or interdisciplinary study within the School of Art+Design.

The foundation program is a progressive and rigorous one that honors the fundamentals and introduces students to new concepts, materials, and ways of learning.

Foundation students visiting Storm King Art Center Foundation Students wearing their “Body Extension” projects from 3-D Processes Adjunct Professor Joseph Cuillier Presenting to ComX Class

Foundation Curriculum:


ComX (Community Experience)

This course brings first-year students in the School of Art+Design together as a community, engaging them with visiting lecturers, field trips, and activities. Students are each assigned an upper-level peer mentor to meet with each week in small groups to help support their curricular experience. 

Extended Media

In this course, students gain experience in traditional and alternative methods for art making. Digital media, printmaking, and photography are used as unique forms or in new combinations. Emphasis is on the process of making and the challenge of expressing ideas.

Visual Language

Introduces the fundamental theories and methodologies of visual communication that explore the relationship between form and content. Through observation, analysis, writing, exercises, and projects, students begin to develop work processes that involve articulation, visual research, concept generation, form making, and craft skills.

A group of Peer Advisors setting up for their annual exhibition.A group of Peer Advisors setting up for their annual exhibition.


Foundation Drawing

Drawing is explored as a distinct practice inspired by particular media and traditions, as well as a fundamental tool for exploring ideas across disciplines. Observational skills are emphasized, but seeing extends beyond the visual, enriched by physical, intellectual, and personal experience. Analytical and intuitive approaches are developed toward the goal of communicating significant form and content.


3-D Processes 

This course introduces the fundamental skills and vocabulary needed to design and create three-dimensional works. Students explore areas of 3-D construction, sculpture, and design, ranging from object to installation and using a variety of processes, materials, and techniques, including wood, metal, plaster, clay, mixed media, and digital tools.

Lens and Time

Students explore time- and lens-based artistic processes that use pictorial space, narrative strategies, sequence, sound, video, social practice, screen-based interaction, and coding throughout this course. 

During their first year, students are also enrolled in art history courses, College Writing, and in the spring, two electives of their choice.

A collection of objects (including a clothes pin, match, and nail polish) that have been enlarged in 3-D Processes. Taking notes while visiting the Brant Foundation.