The Foundations Program at Siena Heights University is designed to bring you together with all other students majoring or minoring in the visual arts--to form a vital community that we call Studio Angelico. Through a variety of projects, this sequence of five courses provides you with fundamental knowledge of contemporary art practices and the creative skills needed to develop a personal direction and create and describe your own original works of art.

One of the distinctive features of Siena’s Foundations Program is the rigorous year-long series of two Core Concepts course that is team-taught by a studio professor and our art history professor. In these two courses, you will learn about contemporary art practices and make connections between the material practices of artists/designers and the research, writing, and critical thinking skills of art historians. Our goal is to help you to develop your own creativity by engaging in unusual yet purposeful projects while also developing your awareness of the elements and principles of design.

In the first of these two courses you will focus on developing creative strategies that will allow you to find original solutions to persistent visual problems. It will challenge you to explore a wide variety of art media, to develop your ability to speak articulately about your art, and to document, describe, and share your artwork with others. You will conduct Internet and library research, write brief papers, and engage in numerous creative studio exercises that involve various elements and principles of design. Right from the start, you will begin to build an art blog where you can upload and describe the key features of your work. The final project of this course asks you to:

  • investigate the works of artists who share your interests, concerns, purposes, or attitudes
  • develop an unprecedented work of art that reflects your research
  • experiment by creating several variant solutions to a problem and selecting the best solution from variant solutions
  • share your artwork, your ideas, your influences, your themes, your process, and your solutions in a well-designed digital presentation.

In the second course you will you will continue to build your portfolio of original works of art as we explore modern and contemporary art practices, ranging from Cubist and Surrealist collage to contemporary video and performance art. This course focuses on the theme of the body and the element of time so that you can experience a wide variety of ways that well-known artists have explored a single theme through scholarly research, media exploration, and a focus on key elements and principles of design. 

    The remaining three Foundations courses ask you to explore the fundamentals of drawing, digital art, and sculpture. In this way, we make sure that all of our incoming students are welcomed into our community and that you are provided with a bedrock of ideas, skills, and practices on which you can build as you develop a personal direction and move into your more specialized, upper-level courses.