Art Foundation Program (AFO)

AFO, the widely-used nickname for Art Foundation, proves to be an exciting first year that provides an intellectually rigorous, studio-based experience in the fundamental issues of art and design.  The program exposes students to a vast forum of ideas and concepts preparing them for a wide range of disciplines.  Art Foundation extends the depth of one’s skills, powers of observation and intellectual agility.  Students should expect to be challenged, to try new materials, strategies and ideas.

This fundamental Art Foundation education and exposure to a variety of mediums is just one aspect of the experience.  Students benefit from a peer group of other first-year visual art students who will go on to define the fields of art and design.  Art Foundation prepares young artists for their next three years at VCU, and ultimately, for a sustained career in the arts.  Artists and designers do not work in isolation, and a strong peer group is one of the privileges of being at VCU.  The relationships forged here remain with our students throughout their life in the arts.

Upon entering the Art Foundation Program, some students have an idea of the department in which they want to study.  Others may not be sure, and use the first year to help define their interests.  More than half of all Art Foundation students change their preferred major and all students will have their perceptions of art and design forever changed.

Did You Know?

  • Small studio classes allow students to work closely with faculty and their fellow classmates; each Art Foundation studio has a maximum of 18 students.
  • Art Foundation prepares students for 10 art and design departments in the School of the Arts: Art Education, Communication Arts, Craft/Material Studies, Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Interior Design, Kinetic Imaging, Painting and Printmaking, Photography and Film, Sculpture + Extended Media
  • 55% of first year students change their intended major as a result of a new experience they had in the Foundation Program.
  • The Program has its own dedicated woodshop, two computer labs, a critique room, lecture hall and 24-hour studio access for its students.