Program Description

Foundations provides all first-year students with the fundamental concepts of art and design through an intensive year-long studio-based experience. This interdisciplinary program emphasizes critical thinking and making skills, conceptual development, process, collaboration, and experimentation. Students are introduced to the School of Art’s learning approaches and gain context to historical and contemporary practices in art and design.  

The required courses in Drawing, 2D, 3D, and 4D studies push students to try new ways of observing and interpreting the world around them, working with a wide variety of materials and ideas. The program prepares them for a future in all areas of the School of Art and beyond. It gives students a shared experience where they form lifetime bonds with a community of their peers. They also maintain close contact with their faculty for feedback and guidance as they begin their artistic journey.  

Completing these studio art Foundations courses is a prerequisite for entry into all visual art and design areas of the School of Art, including Art Education studies. 

What You Will Study

Art 100 Orientation

In the Orientation course, you will learn about important resources at the University as well as within the School of Art. You will be introduced to key issues for art and design students. You will have the opportunity to hear directly from our faculty, students and alumni about all the different programs of study we offer as well as their experiences after Ball State, to help you make choices about your academic and career paths.   


2D Foundations explores basic elements and principles of two-dimensional design, color and visual organization. You will apply these to traditional as well as digital media, gaining skills in craft and presentation alongside conceptual development.


In 3D Foundations, you will explore how to think, visualize and design in the third dimension. This course extends the formal concepts of shape, color, composition, texture and craft into space, considering objects, scale and relationships of the body to built environments. You will gain skills in traditional fabrication techniques and materials as well as examine contemporary practices.  


4D Foundations is an introduction to the technical, formal and conceptual use of contemporary practices including time and space, sound, moving images, performance and interactive projects. Here, the emphasis is placed on conceptual development, process, problem solving and interdisciplinary collaboration. You will explore new ways of working that have extended the fields of art and design and are traditionally underrepresented.  


In Drawing Studio, you will strengthen your perceptual skills and examine drawing as a process, an exploration and a historic and contemporary discipline. You will gain experience with a broad range of technical skills, materials and vocabulary, with an emphasis on observational drawing as a direct revelation of how you interpret and record your surroundings and subjects. 

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