The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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The Foundations Program consists of courses designed to introduce students to the materials, techniques, language, concepts and processes of making, using and thinking about art. The courses aim to keep a healthy tension and balance between formal concepts, hands-on skills, imagination, and critical thinking. 

The sequence of drawing courses involves the basic elements, concepts, materials, and techniques of drawing. Students will be introduced to fundamental elements of visual language through a variety of exercises, discussions, and lectures about content and form of drawing. Informal critiques and group critiques of works made both in and out of class will take place on a regular basis.  

The basic premise of Foundations Studio courses is twofold: First, the courses explore art and design as an experimental practice where invention and investigation play essential roles. Instead of considering introductory level art/design merely as a discipline for producing “solutions” to problems, students will engage in a process of rich qualitative research and reflection.

Second, the principal context for the courses is current practices in contemporary art/design, which is a vast arena of diverse styles, techniques, materials, subjects, forms, purposes, and aesthetic traditions. Thus developing a “foundation” in art and design entails developing an awareness of contemporary art-making practices. Through rigorous formal experimentation and examining the terms and concepts of visual artists, students will be challenged to create imaginative and open responses to the question of how s/he connects visually to the world at large. 

students discuss the art on displaya group of people gather is a room in front of an art displaypeople browse a gallerya table containing three dimensional media