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Studio Foundation

Your first year at MassArt will open your eyes to things you never saw coming.
- Marc Holland, Chair, Studio Foundation

The Studio Foundation program—dedicated to exploration, idea generation, critical thinking, and craftsmanship—provides a comprehensive introduction to studio techniques and media. This curriculum is required of all MassArt students before entering their desired major.

Drawing Courses introduce students to formal principles and the breadth of drawing practice.
Visual Language Courses explore two- and four-dimensional principles of visual organization, with a combination of tactile and digital media, photography, and video.
Form Study guides students through the formal and conceptual foundations of three-dimensional design.

Students learn to take projects through the full creative process, from inception to design construction, presentation, revision, and critique. The Studio Foundation department also has an active program of visiting artists and exhibitions that bring students into contact with local, national, and international artists and designers. Studio, gallery, and museum visits complement the program.

Learning Outcomes

  • Gather information and conduct research
  • Apply research as studio process
  • Study observational thinking in 2D, 3D, and 4D practices
  • Study and apply craft
  • Identify and develop problem solving skills
  • Develop concept
  • Develop imagery
  • Develop goal setting and independent work habits
  • Develop abstract and concrete reasoning and expression
  • Identify, develop, and articulate subjective interests
  • Develop and articulate critical thinking and response (objective and subjective)
  • Study and practice the fundamentals of two-dimensional design
  • Study and practice the fundamentals of three-dimensional design
  • Study and practice the fundamentals of four-dimensional design
  • Study and practice the fundamentals of drawing
  • Study and practice the fundamentals of photographic seeing
  • Study the fundamentals of color and light 
  • Study and apply tactile design skills
  • Study and apply lens- based and digital imaging techniques

Valued across the department and in progress for curricular integration: 

  • Introduce and value sustainability in the life and practice of artists
  • Introduce diverse cultural perspectives
  • Introduce and value role as citizen-artist
  • Study cross-cultural, historic, and contemporary art/design practices
Courses > 
Requirements >

A Gallery Dedicated to Your Foundation

The Brant Gallery is an integral part of the Studio Foundation program—hosting exhibitions, lectures, workshops, interactive events, and providing exhibition opportunities by and for first year students.

It expands the boundaries of the Studio Foundation curriculum by introducing students to contemporary issues in art, including cross-disciplinary approaches and global perspectives. The Brant Gallery is a key part of developing community for first year students.

Meet the Studio Foundation Faculty

Image by student Trevor Collins from the Studio Foundation year.