This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. Courses that expose students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning may be added and notification of additional program approvals may be received prior to finalization. General education program content is also subject to change. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

Jody Symula
Program lead

The Art Foundation Program (AFO) fosters the development of every student by cultivating their curiosity and unique perspectives. This first-year studio experience promotes the discovery of passions and aptitudes within a supportive community of faculty and peers. Students take risks, learn by doing and explore new modes of working and thinking. Faculty develop and model generative and generous methods of feedback to sharpen students’ perception and deepen understanding. The curriculum exists within a larger forum of ideas and creative practices, providing concepts and skills relevant to a wide range of disciplines. AFO provides opportunities that empower students to make informed and inspired decisions about their future path of study. AFO is committed to equity and strives to be an inclusive and accessible learning experience for all students.

Completion of AFO 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.

Official up-to-date transcripts submitted by the School of the Arts transfer application deadline determine eligibility for admission into AFO. Upon acceptance into the program, portfolios and transcripts will be evaluated case-by-case to assess AFO course equivalencies. Transfer students accepted into AFO must complete unmet program requirements at VCU.

AFO students will declare their major by submitting the major declaration the semester that they are on track to complete their art foundation requirements. Only students who submit the major declaration with all required components by the deadline will be guaranteed their major choice; late applications will not be accepted.

Learning outcomes

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

  • Students will acquire and apply knowledge of fundamental art and design techniques, concepts and approaches within their studio work.
  • Students will be introduced to contemporary art and design concepts and begin to apply them in their studio work.
  • Students will develop critique skills by engaging in constructive critical discourse.
  • Students will develop an awareness of professional opportunities and resources within the university and the external arts community.
  • Students will develop a body of studio course work submitted for assessment.