School of Foundation Year
Foundation at KCAI could be the most intense but rewarding year of your life. Foundation students explore fundamental concepts and skills through intense studio work. Various media and situations teach new strategies and promote respect for materials, process and quality. Like a language immersion course — constant and concentrated — students learn in a highly individualized environment with resources galore.
In the fall semester, foundation students work with dedicated faculty in a centralized facility and studio space used exclusively for the foundation year. Students work in a collaborative environment that is key to an active, engaging educational experience. The term begins with activities in perception and active observation, followed by an examination of the visual forces in two- and three-dimensional design, culminating with an exploration of structural abstraction. Throughout the term students are confronted with new media and experiences that test and challenge creative thinking and enhance the ability to sense the possible. Students are asked to demonstrate the validity and depth of their learning strategies through reviews based on demonstrations of problem solving, creative development, intellectual curiosity, visual literacy and a sense of responsibility to the self and the collective studio.
In addition to the primary studio activity, foundation students will participate in three orientations. The Visual Symposium consists of a series of presentations of contemporary practice as defined by the major areas of study offered at KCAI. An introduction to the Central Shop covers the usage of stationary power tools and an exploration of a modular approach to form. The Digital Orientation introduces the freshmen to campus-specific technology and image capture and correction, with an emphasis on the ability to control both technology and image. The orientations take place, in whole or in part, on Fridays throughout the term; are integrated with the primary studio activity; and are designed to introduce the foundation student to campus resources, facilities and departments.
The foundation year’s access to a dedicated building, studios and faculty are coupled with very high expectations and make for an unforgettable year.
Class schedule for 2013-2014
During the spring semester, students move to specialized coursework in workshops that cement the acquisition of skills and studio strategies through diverse approaches to a variety of media. These four-week intensive workshops, in which students may be placed, range from the traditional to the avant-garde. Examples of recent workshops include the “Calligraphy/Book,” “To Draw is to Discern,” “The Woven Self,” “Living Monuments” and “Photo/Book.”
By developing art works employing an aggregation of observation, visual forces, form building and experimentation through trial and error, students develop a capacity for abstract thinking that is applicable across disciplines.
Foundation studios are large, raw, industrial spaces that allow for a flexible approach to the instructional studio and the art-making experience. These studios allow art works of a variety of scale and for complex transformations of the space itself, creating new environments and unique experiences. The foundation studios are open to students from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. six days a week and from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Sundays.
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Brett Reif, associate professor and director, School of the Foundation Year
Originally from New Orleans, Brett Reif received his M.F.A. degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is an...Read More
Chris Chapin, professor
Chris Chapin joined KCAI in 2009. Previously, he was professor of communication arts and fine arts at Otis College of Art and...Read More
Carl Kurtz, professor
Photography, calligraphy and artist books are among Carl Kurtz's areas of interest.
His work has been shown in numerous solo,...Read More
Jim Sajovic, professor
Jim Sajovic creates large-scale acrylic paintings that have been said to "seduce the eye with hidden layers and subversive complexity."...Read More
Steve Whitacre, professor
Steve Whitacre's area of artist interest encompasses large sculptural works that explore the estuary between art and architecture and...Read More
Russell Ferguson, associate professor
A member of the KCAI faculty since 1993, Russell Ferguson is associate professor in the School of the Foundation Year. His areas of...Read More
Sherry Sparks, associate professor
Sherry Sparks has particular interest, as an artist, in design, painting and photography. Her work has been included in various group...Read More
Misty Gamble, assistant professor
Misty Gamble’s work is inspired by the human figure and its infinite capacity for communication. This makes sense given that, as a...Read More
Caleb Taylor, special instructor
Caleb Taylor earned his M.F.A. degree in painting from Montana State University-Bozeman (2008), and his B.F.A. degree from Northwest...Read More
The Foundation Year at KCAI
Russell Ferguson, associate professor in the School of the Foundation Year at KCAI, and foundation students Brett Ginsburg and Kendell Harbin talk about the college's foundation program.