Foundation in Art, Design, & Photography

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 BFA degree programs in Communication Design, Fashion Design, Fine Arts, Interior Design, & Photography, taught either in-person or online, 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.

Emphasis is placed on craft and skill across disciplines and media: drawing, photography, design, video, 3D forms, etc. A primary goal of our foundation year is to give students confidence in their ability to manifest their ideas. In this way, you will gain the ability to be flexible and innovative with tools and a variety of media, which is key to success in any creative discipline.

The studio and academic components of the program are dedicated to using Paris or your immediate environment (for those studying in the Online Foundation: Pathways to Paris) as an, ‘extended classroom’, drawing upon the world around you to inform and inspire your learning. Foundation is a diagnostic program to help you choose the best direction for your future creative practice; throughout the year you 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, you are encouraged to think seriously about what contributions you, as an artist or designer, can potentially make to the world.

Two options for starting your Bachelor’s degree

→ Foundation in Paris

Join us in Paris for our traditional in person Foundation program.

The Foundation year curriculum gives students the flexibility to explore media and ways of working that will prepare them for their major area of study. Each semester, students take a course on ways of seeing, choosing between Drawing or Photography. In the fall semester of Materials & Dimensions, students work in printmaking, photography, & 3D, while in the spring semester they choose to focus on one of these areas. While the required credit load for the Foundation year is 30 credits, students are strongly encouraged to take an elective in the area they plan to focus on for their degree.

In addition, the curriculum includes a year long course in Intro to Digital Media, two semesters of Critical Thinking & Writing, as well as Art History courses both semesters.

→ Foundation Online: Pathway to Paris

Join us Online to complete the Foundation year

The Paris College of Art Foundation course is built on the philosophy handed down from a century of artists, designers, and educators that there are common skills and approaches to all fields of art and design that are dynamic when taught together.

In the Foundation course we teach students to be constantly looking for creative solutions to unexpected constraints.

In this spirit, we developed the ‘Foundation Online: Pathway to Paris’ course in response to the current world situation, as a way to engage first year students in the Foundation experience remotely. Following the success of the program in Fall 2020, we decided to continue offering the Pathway program on a permanent basis.

While similar in intent and purpose, the curriculum of the Foundation options are slightly different. Explore the full course offerings below.

Curriculum

Credits

Foundation in Paris

fall

Ways of Seeing: Drawing or Photography

Description

In the fall semester, In-person Foundation students choose between Drawing I and Black & White Photography, and in the Spring semester, between Drawing II & Color Photography. Students in Pathways to Paris take two semesters of Drawing.

Materials and Dimensions I

Code
FFND 0110
Description

This course is an introduction to dimensions in art and design (2D, 3D, and Photography) 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, 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. In the final project, students respond to the brief using the medium of their choice.

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

Ways of Seeing: Drawing or Photography

Description

In the fall semester, In-person Foundation students choose between Drawing I and Black & White Photography, and in the Spring semester, between Drawing II & Color Photography. Students in Pathways to Paris take two semesters of Drawing.

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.

Materials & Dimensions II

Code
FFND 0111 or FFND 0112
Description

Depending on the individual student’s interests they will enroll in either the 2D or 3D focus of Materials and Dimensions II:

Materials and Dimensions II: Printmaking

Building on the practical knowledge acquired in ‘Materials and Dimensions I’, students develop their ideas with more autonomy, through more personal projects, whilst being supported by the technical expertise of their instructor.

The course focuses on the relationship between design, process and final outcome in two dimensions through color. Students are taught to search for the most effective and pertinent way to communicate their ideas.

Through printmaking explorations students investigate image-making as a multi-layered creative process that enables them to transform and push their work forward in all areas of 2-dimensional image-making.

Materials and Dimensions II: Photography

Building on the practical knowledge acquired in ‘Materials and Dimensions I’, students develop their ideas with more autonomy, through more personal projects, whilst being supported by the technical expertise of their instructors.

The course focuses on the relationship between design, process and final outcome in two dimensions in photography. Students are taught to search for the most effective and pertinent way to communicate their ideas.

Explorations of analog and digital techniques encourage students to investigate image-making as a multi-layered creative process which will enable them to transform and push their work forward in all areas of 2-dimensional image-making.

Materials and Dimensions II: 3D

Building on the practical knowledge acquired in ‘Materials and Dimensions I’, develop their ideas with more autonomy whilst being supported by the technical expertise of their instructors.

With a specific focus on ‘The Body’ students are introduced to the many ways that the human form is central to art and design practices, whether it is in the design of clothes, products, buildings, or furniture. Students gain an understanding of the different possibilities for 3D Design (architecture, fashion, product design, furniture, fine art sculpture).

Projects are based on investigations into how the physical structure, dimensions, and the functions of the human body inspire and direct the design of forms. The influence of context and environment on the generation and development of ideas will be essential to the work. Students experiment with the potential and limitations of materials and different material combinations through a study of color.

Paris Yesterday and Tomorrow: history, art and urban culture

Code
FLIB 1105
Description

This course acquaints students with the neighborhoods, cultures, people, customs, institutions and organizations in Paris through a thematic approach based on three main modules: the city and its history; the literary and artistic representations of the city; the city, its citizens, and its future. Students will learn about key moments in French history, from the Romans on, via the Middle Ages, the Revolution, Haussmannization, and May 1968; 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 learning is accomplished through a variety of means: 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.

Curriculum

Credits

Online 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, and Photography) 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, 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.

Positive Psychology

Code
FLIB 3025
Description

After a brief introduction and historical overview of psychology as an academic discipline, students will focus on what has since the late 1990s been known as positive psychology, i.e. the “study of positive human functioning and flourishing on multiple levels that include the biological, personal, relational, institutional, cultural, and global dimensions of life” (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). The aim of the course is to provide a contemporary understanding of theoretical and empirical advances in positive psychology. Students will read and discuss peer-reviewed research articles and each week there will be a hands-on assignment to personally apply one of the lessons learned in daily life.

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. 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 & Dimensions II

Code
FFND 0111 or FFND 0112
Description

Depending on the individual student’s interests they will enroll in either the 2D or 3D focus of Materials and Dimensions II:

Materials and Dimensions II: Printmaking

Building on the practical knowledge acquired in ‘Materials and Dimensions I’, students develop their ideas with more autonomy, through more personal projects, whilst being supported by the technical expertise of their instructor.

The course focuses on the relationship between design, process and final outcome in two dimensions through color. Students are taught to search for the most effective and pertinent way to communicate their ideas.

Through printmaking explorations students investigate image-making as a multi-layered creative process that enables them to transform and push their work forward in all areas of 2-dimensional image-making.

Materials and Dimensions II: Photography

Building on the practical knowledge acquired in ‘Materials and Dimensions I’, students develop their ideas with more autonomy, through more personal projects, whilst being supported by the technical expertise of their instructors.

The course focuses on the relationship between design, process and final outcome in two dimensions in photography. Students are taught to search for the most effective and pertinent way to communicate their ideas.

Explorations of analog and digital techniques encourage students to investigate image-making as a multi-layered creative process which will enable them to transform and push their work forward in all areas of 2-dimensional image-making.

Materials and Dimensions II: 3D

Building on the practical knowledge acquired in ‘Materials and Dimensions I’, develop their ideas with more autonomy whilst being supported by the technical expertise of their instructors.

With a specific focus on ‘The Body’ students are introduced to the many ways that the human form is central to art and design practices, whether it is in the design of clothes, products, buildings, or furniture. Students gain an understanding of the different possibilities for 3D Design (architecture, fashion, product design, furniture, fine art sculpture).

Projects are based on investigations into how the physical structure, dimensions, and the functions of the human body inspire and direct the design of forms. The influence of context and environment on the generation and development of ideas will be essential to the work. Students experiment with the potential and limitations of materials and different material combinations through a study of color.

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.

Paris Yesterday and Tomorrow: Online Only

Code
FLIB 1105
Description

This course acquaints students with the neighborhoods, cultures, people, customs, institutions and organizations in Paris through a thematic approach based on three main modules: the city and its history; the literary and artistic representations of the city; the city, its citizens, and its future. Students will learn about key moments in French history, from the Romans on, via the Middle Ages, the Revolution, Haussmannization, and May 1968; 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 learning is accomplished through a variety of means: 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 B
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.

FAQs

How does the studio experience differ between in-person and online Foundation?

Working together in the studio, students in Paris enjoy the synergetic energy that is created from working alongside each other.

Going between hands-on, independent work and the intense virtual sharing of projects, the Pathway to Paris program recreates the energy that we generate in studio classes in your home. You will be expected to use basic tools that are to hand, and to work predominantly with recycled materials, in keeping with our commitment to ecological responsibility. We will begin the course with guidelines and inspiration about how to set up your art-school at home.

What is the student experience?

Whether in-person or online, Paris College of Art brings together students from all over the world to work across disciplines and collaborate: imaginations combine in a sort of laboratory for future creativity. Eyes and minds are opened up.

The online course establishes and maintains these essential student connections through allocated time for peer-to-peer exchange and collaborative work.

How does the teaching structure differ?

For in-person Foundation, individual classes take place in different studio environments throughout the school.

Online Foundation is structured around weekly assignments that parallel those offered in the face-to-face classes. The program will follow a recurrent weekly structure: Each week we announce a new challenge and then tackle it first through drawing, then experiment in 2 and 3 dimensions, and finally translate it digitally.

Continuing your Degree

Both in-person and online student declare their major during advising in the spring semester.

Online Foundation students must take an additional 2 credit studio elective in Sophomore year to complete the Foundation requirements.

Cost

The tuition for in-person Foundation is 14,200 euros per semester. In-person students are eligible to apply for PCA Financial assistance. Learn more here.

The tuition costs for online Foundation is 7,500 euros per semester. This special rate is not eligible for financial assistance.

It is possible to opt for Online Foundation to divide your tuition payments into monthly installments. The enrollment deposit is deducted from tuition due, and then 55% of remaining tuition and fees must paid by September 1st, followed by 3 monthly payments of 15%.

How to Apply

To join either In-person or Online Foundation: Pathway to Paris you apply through our online application.

if you are accepted for either program you can switch to the other later on in the admissions process.

Faculty

chloe-briggs

Chloé Briggs

Chair of Foundation
MAvignoneHeadshot

Matthew Avignone

Adjunct Faculty

Johannes Boehl

Adjunct Faculty
CUNSOLO ID

Gaetano Cunsolo

Adjunct Faculty
Alix de Mercey

Alix de Mercey

Chair of Interior Design
Linda Jarvin copy

Linda Jarvin

Chief Academic Officer
joe

Joe Johnson

Department Coordinator, Lab Technician, and Adjunct Faculty
Holland, Taylor

Taylor Holland

Adjunct Faculty
Naude, Elsa

Elsa Naude

Adjunct Faculty
Ofo Obuobi

Ofo Obuobi

Adjunct Faculty

Carolin Roider

Adjunct Faculty
IMG_0774

Cathrine Winsnes

Adjunct Faculty

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.

First Day Project

Wu-Heng

Wu-Heng

Ryoto

Ryoto

A Space For My Head

A Space For My Head

Lilly Merck

Lilly Merck

Avery_Antonia

Avery_Antonia

Andia 2

Andia 2

A Space for My Head - Sara Driscoll

A Space for My Head - Sara Driscoll

Jixuan Liu

Jixuan Liu

 

PCA Zine Club: Recipes

PCA Zine club was first started in the Foundation department in 2017 by student Keiji Ishida. Both students and faculty alike, as well as the greater public, can publish their work in this periodic, hand-made magazine. The magazine was designed as a way...
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