The Foundations Program in the School of Art at Kent State is a series of courses that reveal the underlying visual rules and artistic strategies that run throughout all of our School's majors.

Foundations projects are often faster paced, unpredictable, and are not specific to a particular material or process. Foundations projects frequently challenge students to transform cheap, free, or found materials into extraordinary new compositions and push students to work in new ways. Courses included in the Foundations Program are Drawing I, Drawing II, 2D Composition, 3D Composition, and Digital Media.

No matter what level of experience our students bring with them, by working with varying materials, sizes, time limits, and environments, each student's comfort zone rapidly expands to encompass new creative territory. Experimentation, collaboration, and online resources create a shared experience that introduces students to each other and to the breadth of experiences ahead in the School of Art. 

The four core Foundations Program courses are distinct but interconnected. Each explores the same concepts and structures from the perspective of different tools and processes. Students also learn how to create their own website, archive, portfolio, and blog which help students apply for scholarships, artist residencies, and exhibitions, among other opportunities. Students have the opportunity to show the artwork created in these courses at the Foundations Show at the Center for the Visual Arts every semester. The Jack and Dora Tippens Scholarship in Foundations is announced at the spring Foundations Show in the CVA Gallery where two students are awarded $500. 


Drawing professor and student

Drawing I and Drawing II

Drawing is a powerful component of any artistic practice as the best way to quickly visualize any idea. Drawing I and Drawing II give every student powerful tools to capture what they see accurately through observation, and to understand better why the interaction between our eyes, brains, and hands makes this skill so challenging to beginners and so valuable to those that master it.


Foundations 2D composition student working on a project

2D Composition

This course is a basic introduction to flat pictorial composition. Students will explore the basic principles of design and the application of line, shape, value, texture, and color to the two-dimensional surface. Students will learn to work with traditional materials as well as new technology. In addition to developing technical proficiency with a variety of materials and tools, emphasis will be placed on visual literacy and critical thinking skills throughout this course. The major components of 2D are ORDER, COLOR, ACTION, and CONCEPT. The rules explored in each of these sections apply equally to abstraction and to representational illusions of three-dimensional space.


Foundation Show 2017

3D Composition

This course introduces the basic principles of composition in three dimensions. Exercises and assignments are designed to heighten sensitivity to the visual environment and to provide a challenging introduction to a variety of media and methods for generating form. In addition to developing technical proficiency with a variety of materials, emphasis will be placed on visual literacy and critical thinking skills. 3D Composition brings the same ideas introduced in 2D into physical space. 3D also has four main components: FABRICATION, CASTING AND CARVING, ORDER, and REPRESENTATION. Before students get into the intro level studio courses, which delve deeply into how artists work in different materials, 3D Composition uses simple techniques to investigate how to communicate ideas through sculptural works.


Foundations student with digital media work

Digital Media

Digital Media applies existing and emerging digital tools, techniques, and strategies to the basic principles of composition and design introduced in 2D and 3D Composition. Strategies include creating and manipulating visual information, generating time-based and narrative imagery, translating digital information into studio production, and exploring various methods of presentation.  Students learn to use Adobe programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere Pro and also use digital fabrication tools in the ARTech Studio