Elissa Armstrong
Director

arts.vcu.edu/programs/art-foundation

The mission of the Art Foundation Program is to provide an intellectually rigorous, studio-based experience in the fundamental issues of art and design. The program seeks to develop in its students an enthusiasm for their work, a means to reflect analytically and an ability to cultivate skills that will serve throughout their education. The Art Foundation Program seeks to establish connections between programs in art and design and to participate in a larger forum of ideas and concepts relevant to all of the disciplines.

Completion of the Art Foundation Program is a prerequisite for entry into all fine art and design departments: Art Education, Communication Arts, Craft and Material Studies, Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Interior Design, Kinetic Imaging, Painting and Printmaking, Photography and Film, and Sculpture and Extended Media. Art Foundation provides the basic concepts, skills and experience necessary to pursue advanced studio work in each department. Students become affiliated with a major department after the departmental portfolio reviews in the spring semester of the Art Foundation year. At that time the student applies to the department of his or her choice. Department acceptance is competitive and is based on individual student performance and potential in their chosen area.

Transfer students in art and design are also required to complete the Art Foundation Program but may be awarded transfer credits on a case-by-case basis.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  • Understand the fundamentals of art and design
  • Introduce issues of contemporary art and design
  • Peer and self-critique
  • Introduce and encourage opportunities available throughout the university, city, state and abroad
  • Develop a body of work for major department review
  • A wide variety of approaches to working and making

Requirements for Art Foundation Program

Art Foundation studios
ARTF 131Drawing Studio3
ARTF 132Surface Research3
ARTF 133Space Research3
ARTF 134Time Studio3
ARTF 139Project2
Art history component
ARTH 103
ARTH 104
Survey of Art I
and Survey of Art II
6
Total Hours20

The is a sample plan of the Art Foundation Program, please consult with your adviser for details. Please note the Art Foundation studio and research courses are not sequential.

Freshman year
Fall semesterHours
ARTF 131 Drawing Studio 3
ARTF 133 Space Research 3
ARTF 139 Project 1
ARTH 103 Survey of Art I 3
UNIV 111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry I Focused Inquiry I 3
University Core Curriculum Course 3
 Term Hours: 16
Spring semester
ARTF 132 Surface Research 3
ARTF 134 Time Studio 3
ARTF 139 Project 1
ARTH 104 Survey of Art II 3
UNIV 112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry II Focused Inquiry II 3
University Core Curriculum course 3
 Term Hours: 16
 Total Hours: 32

ARTF 115. Art History Survey. 3 Hours.

Continuous courses; 3 lecture hours. 3-3 credits. Prerequisite: completion of ARTF 115 to enroll in ARTF 116. A survey of the history and development of the visual arts within the contexts of history, geography, politics, religion, economics and the broad social and personal aspects of human culture. Offered at VCU Qatar.

ARTF 116. Art History Survey. 3 Hours.

Continuous courses; 3 lecture hours. 3-3 credits. Prerequisite: completion of ARTF 115 to enroll in ARTF 116. A survey of the history and development of the visual arts within the contexts of history, geography, politics, religion, economics and the broad social and personal aspects of human culture. Offered at VCU Qatar.

ARTF 121. Introduction to Drawing. 2 Hours.

Continuous courses; 1 lecture and 3 studio hours. 2-2 credits. Prerequisite: completion of ARTF 121 to enroll in ARTF 122. Not for art majors. An introduction to the fundamentals of freehand drawing with an emphasis on representational drawing skills, perception and traditional drawing materials. Does not fulfill Art Foundation Program requirements.

ARTF 131. Drawing Studio. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 6 studio hours. 3 credits. Open only to first-year fine arts and design majors in the School of the Arts. Drawing A to Z, from pencil to perspective, from sumi ink to skywriting. An intensive drawing studio covering the historic principles of drawing and their place in contemporary practice. Provides an in-depth investigation of line, perspective, the figure, gesture, space, atmosphere, erasure, etc. Through the repeated physical activity of drawing, students will refine their intellectual powers of observation and visualization.

ARTF 132. Surface Research. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 6 studio hours. 3 credits. Open only to first-year fine arts and design majors in the School of the Arts. A studio-based course designed to cultivate a student's ability to create and understand two-dimensional imagery. Will include basic principles of design, color and visual organization in traditional, digital and lens-based media. Course content will explore the context of imagery in the larger culture and the potential of art and design.

ARTF 133. Space Research. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 6 studio hours. 3 credits. Open only to first-year fine arts and design majors in the School of the Arts. A comprehensive investigation of three-dimensional phenomena in fine art and design. Will cultivate a student's ability to think, perceive, visualize, design and build in three dimensions. Issues of understanding and envisioning space, objects, scale and the relationship of the body to the built environment are subjects of the course. Students will acquire a broad skill set of fabrication techniques and an inquiry into the possibility of 21st-century materials.

ARTF 134. Time Studio. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 6 studio hours. 3 credits. Open only to first-year fine arts and design majors in the School of the Arts. Brings together tenets of contemporary practice that have extended the fields of fine art and design. Time-based media such as film, video and sound are included in this mix. The historically underrepresented impulses of theatrically and performance will be explored. Students will use video as a primary tool, but will address larger issues of ephemerality, duration and the possibilities of the moving image.

ARTF 139. Project. 1-2 Hours.

Short course (5 weeks); variable hours. 1-2 credits. Open only to first-year fine arts and design majors in the School of the Arts. A seminar or studio on a selected issue, topic or skill in the fields of fine art and design. May be repeated up to maximum of 4 credits.

ARTF 150. Pre-Art Foundation Studio. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 6 studio and 2 lecture hours. 4 credits. For students in the Pre-Art Foundation Program in the School of the Arts. Offered to Pre-Art Foundation designees only. A beginning studio course emphasizing the fundamental issues of art and design, such as meaning, context, content and parameters, structure, materials, means of construction, form, space, and light. As the primary studio offering in the Pre-Art Foundation year, this course stresses the development of values that will become a basis for students' actions as professional artists and designers. Introduces students to the values, habits, traditions and expectations of studio culture. Addresses the processes and methods involved in the identification, development and realization of ideas and concepts. Does not fulfill Art Foundation Program requirements.

ARTF 160. Pre-Art Foundation Drawing. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 6 studio and 2 lecture hours. 4 credits. For students in the Pre-Art Foundation Program in the School of the Arts. Offered to Pre-Art Foundation designees only. A beginning drawing course offering intense exposure to the basic skills of figure and perspective drawing. Traditional drawing media, the fundamentals of anatomy and the fundamentals of linear perspective are covered. Does not fulfill Art Foundation Program requirements.

ARTF 191. Topics in Foundation Studies. 1-4 Hours.

Short course; variable hours. 5 weeks. 1-4 credits. May not be repeated. Prerequisites: permission of the program director and instructor. A seminar or studio on a selected issue, topic or skill in the field of foundation studies.