Art Foundations

These entry-level courses are required for students in Art & Art Education degree programs. 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.


Art 102: 2D Design
Art 104: 3D Design
Art 107: Intro to Digital Forms
Art 108: Foundations of Contemporary Art (history)
Art 208: Current Directions in Art (theory & history)
Art 212: Drawing Concepts & Methods (most art majors begin here)


Douglas Rosenberg
Meg Mitchell
Gail Simpson
Fred Stonehouse

Introductory Courses for Non-Art Majors

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!


Art 100: Intro to Art
Art 176: Intro to Digital Photography for Non-Art Majors

First Year Interest Group Program

The Art Foundations Program is a series of related studio and lecture courses 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 successful 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.