Freshman Foundation Program
At some art schools, students isolate themselves in their particular specialty, not here at Western State Colorado University. You deal with the whole place, the entire range of artmaking - starting your very first week.
THE FIRST YEAR FOUNDATION PROGRAM
Freshmen coming to Western State Colorado University from high school, and transfer students who have fewer than 18 studio credit hours, take the Foundation Program courses. You attend studio classes in 2-D and 3-D design and foundation drawing.
In the meantime, we don't want you to neglect your own individual work, so we also offer other introduction courses as well. Simultaneously, you begin your liberal arts foundation covering areas in human relationships, natural sciences, mathematics, writing, speaking, and creative and imaginative arts. But suppose you already know what kind of art you want to make, and you want to get down to business? As an artist or designer and as a person planning to make a living, you owe yourself a broad education. Learning to solve problems in visual perception carries over and strengthens your work with design or sculpture. Art is the most versatile and expressive career choice, and is always changing. As an example, if you're a painter, you may eventually want to try your ideas in a sculpture project; your sculpture art may someday suggest a painting installation. With the overview provided by the first year courses, you're ready to follow where your creativity leads. A solid survey of art history, besides adding to your breadth of art-related knowledge, gives you the tools of perspective and analysis you may need later if you consider working full- or part-time with museums, galleries, research, or art criticism. Writing and literature, plus additional liberal arts courses that you take later, round out your knowledge so that you graduate with not just a technical education, but a comprehensive one.
While you're working with all these new ideas and skills, you have a personal faculty adviser, with further advising and instruction available through our Freshman Advisory Core Program. You will have the opportunity later to choose an advisor within your emphasis.
Does this first year sound tough? Well, it is. During these two semesters you face head-on the tough choice you have made. A choice that demands commitment, initiative, flexibility, and rewards you with opportunities for your own creative expression. If you were to interview a number of freshmen after their first semester, most of them would emphasize the semester's heady combination of exhumation and pressure. Many people find out what incredible procrastinators they can be, waiting until the night before a project is due to type a paper, develop prints, bind books, or finish paintings. In retrospect, students wished they had budgeted their time (and their money!) more wisely; they vowed to make a more responsible start the second semester - to work harder, but with better balance.
During your first year here, you'll devise your own coping methods - just as you'll find friends, a roommate, storage space, supplies, late-night activities, and new avenues for your imagination. That's why we often describe the Foundation Program as two semesters in problem-solving. It's a year's exploration of ingenuity, and a sturdy grounding in the skills that can make all your ideas possible.
Professor of Art
Chair, Department of Art