Department of Art & Art History

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Foundations Sketchbook Project
Foundations Sketchbook Project


The Foundation Program introduces studio undergraduates to a cohesive curriculum offered through a sequence of first-year courses. The focus of this curriculum is on visual literacy and understanding the use of technique as a tool to illustrate concepts that span many different art disciplines and cultures. Students develop creative, expressive, and analytical skills through a variety of multidisciplinary assignments, including digital media. Each course consists of studio practice and a lecture series. Foundation Faculty carefully guide students through a comprehensive program, providing students with a thorough understanding of contemporary art and art practice to ensure a successful creative future.

At the University of Colorado at Boulder, all Art and Art History students begin with our Foundation program. This program includes two core courses designed for the student to progressively build upon his or her existing aptitudes and to be introduced to new ways of working and thinking. These courses introduce a range of theoretical positions, artistic methods, materials, and media that are key for art making. Some frequently asked questions are addressed below:

What are the first Foundations classes I will need to enroll in?
ARTS 1010 Introduction to Studio Arts: This course is composed of three divisions, beginning with the drawing studio, where the student explores drawing techniques integrated with 2-D Design concepts in progressive exercises using a wide range of materials. A 3-D design project that places the students in the woodshop to learn basic wood fabrication while exploring the fundamental principles of three-dimensional practices with application of a variety of materials. A Painting Studio section, which introduces color theory and coloring mixing through creative color compositions. The last studio component is the Printmaking Studio, where the student is introduced to the techniques of multiples and one-of-a-kind printmaking processes.

How is the second Foundation Class different from ARTS 1010?
ARTS 1020 Introduction to Studio Arts II builds on what the student has learned in ARTS 1010 through more advanced projects. Additional skills including digital media are integrated into interdisciplinary assignments to allow students greater freedom and responsibility in their approach to art practice. It challenges the student to produce projects that are based on current issues, a range of media, and a variety of the studio art programs. Studios represented in this course are Ceramics, Sculpture, Photography, and Interdisciplinary Media Art Practices.

Can I enroll in both ARTS 1010 and ARTS 1020 at the same time?
No, ARTS 1010 is a prerequisite for ARTS 1020, so students are required to take ARTS 1010 first.

What is the Foundations Lecture Series?
The Foundations Lecture series is based on the readings as well as on current art issues. ARTS 1010 lectures are based on the fundamentals of 2-D and 3-D Design as well as Color Theory. In the both 1010 and 1020 lectures, you will be introduce to current contemporary artists and materials. ARTS 1020 lectures are constructed around the various studios and projects introduced in the studio component.

If I transfer into CU can I be exempt from taking the Foundations courses?
You will need to bring a syllabus of each course you want to review and a copy of your transcript so the Director can note that you have passed the course. Do not send this information by mail, email, or fax, as it is important to meet directly with the Director of the Foundations Area. The Foundations Director holds office hours during the academic year – your advisor can provide the appropriate email address for scheduling an appointment.

Area Faculty

C.Maxx Stevens

C.Maxx Stevens

Michael Beitz

Michael Beitz


Students’ Work

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  • Rebecca Petty

    Rebecca Petty

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