Art Foundations & First Year Interest Group



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UW-Madison Art Department
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  Art Foundations Program and First Year Interest Group Program 

The Art Foundations Program  is a series of related studio and lecture courses to be taken by Art and Art Education majors in their first year as preparation for further study in studio art and design. The program addresses the fundamentals of art through investigation of formal, technical and conceptual issues. The drawing, 2D and 3D design, digital media, and art historical lecture classes are designed to expose, broaden, and challenge students' understanding of contemporary art production. The classes are meant to be taken concurrently and the information covered in them is interrelated, creating a network of corresponding experiences and a peer community that will continue throughout the program and beyond. Most  freshman art majors complete their foundations courses through participation in the Contemporary Art and Artists First-Year Interest Group (FIG). 

First Year Interest Groups are learning communities designed specifically for first year students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In Art, sophomore students new to art are also included. FIGs are a unique cluster of UW courses, linked together to explore a common theme or topic. Students enroll in all of the linked courses as a set. Most FIGs are limited to only 20 students, and all of the students in each FIG enroll in all of the courses in the set-- this forms the basis of their “cohort” or “interest group.” The purpose of the FIGs Program is to provide an interesting, intimate, and interdisciplinary experience that helps students make a succesful academic and social transition to the university.

Benefits of Participating in the Art First Year Interest Group:

Extra attention

You’ll have the dedicated attention of an instructor who really wants to work with first-year students like you.

Make friends

Studying together and helping each other, you’ll get to know the students in your FIG well, making your first campus year easier.

Better learning

Integrating ideas from different courses will help you learn in a more interesting and holistic way.

Proven popularity

One of every five UW freshman enrolls in a FIG.

These entry-level courses are required for students in Art & Art Education degree programs:
Art 102 2D Design
Art 104 3D DesignDrawing class with Gail Simpson     
Art 107 Intro to Digital Forms
Art 108 Foundations of Contemporary Art (history)
Art 208 Current Directions in Art (theory and history)
Art 212 Drawing Concepts & Methods (most art majors begin here)

Incoming freshman Art majors are strongly encouraged to participate in the Contemporary Art & Artists First Year Interest Group Program (ART FIG) by enrolling in reserved sections of Art 102, 108 and 212 in the fall semester and Art 104, 107 and 208 in the spring.

Faculty: Douglas Rosenberg, Meg Mitchell, Gail Simpson, Fred Stonehouse, Aris Georgiades

Introduction to Theory & Criticism - Art 108 & 208
One of the great strengths of the Foundations Program is that beginning Art majors take survey classes in modern and contemporary art at the same time that they’re becoming immersed in studio practice, allowing them to grow technically while developing an understanding of current practices and ideas in their field. The survey courses establish a context in which our undergrads can make well-informed choices about their own work, which helps them become more articulate in their discussions about historical and contemporary practices. 

Art 108 Foundations of Contemporary Art: Addresses the artists' formal, technical and expressive concerns; the principal ideas of movements which have significantly influenced the major tendencies in contemporary art.
Art 208 Current Directions in Art: Examines current artists' motivations, intentions, and processes and their relationship to general developments in contemporary art.

Three-Dimensional Design - Art 104
Apply design principles to 3-D investigations which includes lectures, sculptural studio exercises, discussions and critiques.

Introduction to Digital Forms - Art 107
 An introduction to a range of digital media techniques for artists and designers, including digital imaging, vector graphics, web design and 3D digital modeling. Emphasis on creative development along with technical skill building.

Drawing and Design (102-2D Design) & (212-Drawing Methods & Concepts)
Through digital and analog projects, students in Art 102 (basic design) develop perceptions, use of perspective, line, light and dark, development of space, and expressive qualities in design. In Art 212, the entry-level drawing course for art majors, students focus on varied drawing experiences, lectures, demonstrations, and individual and group critique. Non-art majors seeking a basic drawing class, please look for Art 112 Drawing I.

 Introduction to Art - Art 100
For non-art majors only, this course is especially loved by students completing the Studio Art Certificate Program. Students explore the elements of visual language, their nature, functions, and relationships in the visual arts. Focus is on the development and application of visual literacy, critical thinking skills, artwork evaluation and hands-on creative skills. This course also has an art historical overview. Seats in this highly popular class go fast!

Introduction to Digital Photography for Non-Art Majors - Art 176
Another very popular course with students completing the Studio Art Certificate Program.
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