Foundation

The first-year of the
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Degree

The success of this program is based on the fact that we work with who is here – right here – right now. Therefore, courses and instruction are continually evolving. The students and faculty are from all over the world and bring to the school the diversity of their experience. This creates an extraordinary learning environment.
– Chloe Briggs, Chair of Foundation

Foundation, the first year of our four-year degree program, is built on the philosophy that there are fundamental approaches, skills and knowledge to be learned that are common to all creative disciplines. We encourage students to have a cross-disciplinary foundation attitude: to take risks, suspend disbelief and generally be open to new experiences and ways of looking at the world.

At the same time major emphasis is placed on craft and skill. A primary goal of our foundation year is to give students confidence in their ability to make ideas.

The studio and academic components of the program are dedicated to using Paris as an, ‘extended classroom’, drawing upon the city’s rich resources to inform and inspire student learning. Foundation is a diagnostic program; throughout the year students take part in events and workshops designed to introduce the specificities of each major offered at Paris College of Art.

The mix of social and cultural contexts from which the students and faculty come creates a unique Foundation year. In this environment, students are encouraged to think seriously about what contributions an artist or designer can potentially make to the world.

Curriculum

Credits

Foundation

fall

Drawing I

Code
FFND 0176
Description

Drawing–across all first year studio courses and in every progression track at PCA–is considered a fundamental discipline for creative practice. The aim is to give students both a vital course in traditional skills and an introduction to contemporary and emerging approaches to drawing. Included in this class are subject specific workshops such as: digital illustration, gesture/dance, experimental fashion drawing, drawing and film. The purpose of this course is to instill a lively and inspired discipline that students will continue to practice in many forms beyond their foundation year.

Materials and Dimensions I

Code
FFND 0110
Description

This course is an introduction to dimensions in art and design (2D, 3D, Photography and Moving Image) through material processes. Over the course of the semester students rotate for one month through three discipline areas. A common theme links the three courses and projects overlap and develop progressively. All first years take part in a joint critique of their work. Students are taught how to use practical tools and shown methods for handling materials that provide concrete starting points for creative practice. These include, but are not limited to: book-making, basic printmaking, black and white printing, sewing inductions, moving image workshops, and the operation of woodwork machinery.

Introduction to Digital Media I

Code
FFND 0170
Description

This course aims to equip all first year students with the necessary skills and confidence to be able to use digital tools. The curriculum is project-led and structured so that students can apply their growing skill-set to realize their ideas. All projects are contextualized with examples of work by contemporary artists and designers who are working with digital media. Students are introduced to the possibilities for digital tools as part of their creative work.

City as Studio

Code
FFND 0174
Description

Students explore their immediate neighbourhood and the city at large as a site of inspiration. The city and its spaces become an extended classroom. Students respond to a theme designed to encourage interaction and integration with their surroundings and new, unexpected ways of looking at their environment. Site visits, walks, lectures, readings, and practical exercises guide students through different approaches to the creative process with the aim that they develop their own methodologies and engage with the city as potential artists and/or designers.

Introduction to Art & Design

Code
FHCA 0103
Description

This course introduces students to themes and topics relevant to the production and reception of the art and design disciplines taught at PCA. Using art and design objects located in Parisian collections as the basis for visual, contextual and cultural analysis, students will develop ways of seeing, contextualizing and describing art and design, while tackling a common set of issues, including but not limited to: chronology, style, authorship, form, function, composition, originality, narrative, and the decorative. Students will be guided as to how to conduct research in local collections and libraries and will produce a short contextually-oriented research paper on an art or design object or an artist or designer based on first-hand access to the object, artist, designer and archives.

Critical Thinking & Writing I

Code
FLIB 1011
Description

This year-long course is designed to improve critical thinking, reading, and writing skills. Students learn to understand the inherent argument and logic of a text, to think more systematically and critically, and to write more effectively by developing skills in the structure, grammar, and mechanics of writing. Students also work toward the more focused goal of situating design and art practices within larger intellectual, historical and philosophical frameworks by exploring the indissoluble connection between ideas and the products of human culture. This is achieved by introducing students to texts representing and describing various methodologies applicable to art and design, which can then be used to critique and analyze visual and material artifacts.

spring

Drawing II

Code
FFND 0177
Description

Students require the fluency and confidence in the act of drawing developed in Drawing I in order to engage in more ambitious work. ‘Professional’ drawing classes are designed to relate directly to art and design specialisms (Fine Art, Illustration, Fashion, Interior Design, Communication Design and Photography). Students are encouraged to take a self-motivated and questioning approach to drawing; equipped with the basic skills they become increasingly open to experimentation and the potential to communicate in many forms. Through a series of workshops stereotypical ways of thinking and seeing are challenged so that students understand drawing as an activity that continues to be relevant and re-invented.

Materials and Dimensions II

Code
FFND 0111
Description

Building on the practical knowledge acquired in in ‘Materials and Dimensions I’ students develop their ideas with more autonomy whilst being supported by the technical expertise of their instructors. In this course students focus on the relationship between design, process and final outcome in 2-Dimensions. After an introduction to color theory and symbolism, students learn about color through print. Students are taught to question and analyze the image-making process. Through set assignments students explore different media and techniques and learn how to select the most effective methods to communicate their ideas.

Introduction To Digital Media II

Code
FFND 0171
Description

Students develop projects with a growing complexity, employing the computer less as a tool and more as a medium to be manipulated with greater confidence and control. The aim of the course is to create an awareness of the potential for digital techniques to solve visual and communication problems. Advanced skills are taught during the Semester that support and encourage an ambitious approach to the digital field. Students integrate digital and non-digital practice and explore mixing different softwares and media. All projects are contextualized with examples of work by contemporary artists and designers who are working with digital media. By the end of the course all students are confident to use digital tools as part of their creative work.

Personal Project

Code
FFND 0175
Description

All students are given a common theme from which to design and create their own project over the course of the Spring Semester. ‘Personal Project’ is a seminar-led course where students present their ideas and the evolution of their work for critical feedback to their peers. This course is run by Instructors with specialist knowledge in areas of art and/or design and students are allocated a group according to their emerging interests.

Studio Elective

Description

You may select an elective from the many course offerings in your department or in other departments with the approval of your department chair.

Artistic Migrations: Paris

Code
FLIB 1104
Description

This course introduces students to the notion of the city as palimpsest and the center of cultural and social exchanges. It will expose them to a selection of writers and artists who have travelled to and from Paris, and help them understand the role played by this city in relation to cultural and political capitals throughout the world. The city itself will be the subject of a visual and intellectual inquiry via themes that focus on Paris as a historically significant urban social, political and cultural center past and present.

Students will learn about key moments in French history, from the Romans on, via the Middle Ages and the Revolution, they will be introduced to such themes as political migrations and colonialism, and will explore the city from a variety of points of views including literary and artistic exchanges, urban history, architecture, and ecology. Active exploration of the environment is strongly encouraged and students are asked to observe and analyze phenomena of the city through site visits, the examination of texts and images, and first-hand encounters with museums, galleries, and libraries, as well as other art and design-related resources in the city.

Critical Thinking & Writing II

Code
FLIB 1012 A
Description

This year-long course is designed to improve critical thinking, reading, and writing skills. Students learn to understand the inherent argument and logic of a text, to think more systematically and critically, and to write more effectively by developing skills in the structure, grammar, and mechanics of writing. Students also work toward the more focused goal of situating design and art practices within larger intellectual, historical and philosophical frameworks by exploring the indissoluble connection between ideas and the products of human culture. This is achieved by introducing students to texts representing and describing various methodologies applicable to art and design, which can then be used to critique and analyze visual and material artifacts.

Overall Credits Total
34

Faculty

chloe-briggs

Chloé Briggs

Chair of Foundation and Co-Chair of Masters in Drawing
tara bogart

Tara Bogart

Professor & Lab Technician
patricio sarmiento

Patricio Sarmiento

Fashion Design Senior Coordinator/ Professor

The Foundation Year at PCA

PCA sits down with second-year Fine Arts students, Judy McNicol and Walker Greene about their experience in Foundation and life in Paris.Judy McNicol, from Glasgow, Scotland and Walker Greene from Omaha, Nebraska, USA talked to us about what they gained from the Foundation year, their favorite projects, a typical day, friendship and life in general as a Foundation student at PCA.

Entry Options

Fall (September) Entry

The academic year routinely starts at the beginning of September. Secondary school students or transfer students who have not completed a foundation year should apply for the first-year Foundation program.

Spring (January) Entry

Students may apply to transfer into the second semester of the Foundation sequence if they have taken equivalent coursework elsewhere.

Students without transfer credits will be considered based on the skills demonstrated in their portfolio and may in some cases enter in the spring, but they will be required to take summer courses to complete their Foundation requirements.

Join the Foundation Program

Foundation Work

Sarah Sprouse

Sarah Sprouse

Final Project "Uni-"
Alexandria Henry

Alexandria Henry

Neon Installation
Keegan Keene

Keegan Keene

Alternative Passport
Judy McNicol

Judy McNicol

Sketchbook
Drawing on Glass

Drawing on Glass