All students studying the Department of Art and Design devote their first year to a basic art program. Incoming freshmen complete two art history and four studio art courses: Art History Survey I and II, Drawing Fundamentals, 2-D Design, 3-D Design, and Color Theory. These last four classes listed comprise the Studio Art Foundations Program. This foundation of study provides all students with a base level introduction and hands-on exposure to design concepts and techniques needed for advanced studies in all areas within the department. The studio courses build skills in the elements and principles of art, problem solving, and oral and written communications. Models of art from the 20th Century are used extensively to prepare the student for more advanced study and to give a stronger sense of contemporary art movements.
Drawing Fundamentals provides the student with the skills to draw directly from observation of the subject matter. Learning how to draw what you see is a basic skill necessary for artist development. The class encounters a variety of black and white drawing materials, and the subject matter may include still-life, landscape, and the human figure.
2-D Design and 3-D Design focus on the understanding of the elements and principles of art. The principles of art include: unity, emphasis/focal point, scale/proportion, balance, and rhythm. The elements of art are line, shape/volume, texture, value, color, and organizing the picture plan and space. The skills gained in the two courses are needed by all creative areas within the program. Hence, the materials encountered in the classes remain quite varied and are not focused for any one media concentration in the department.
Color Theory provides an in-depth examination of the complex element of color. Both additive (colored light) and subtractive (pigment) systems are studied. The dimensions of color, hue, value, intensity, and temperature, remain significant throughout the course. Other topics include color used to create a sense of depth, use of color schemes, and psychological effects of color.