The First-Year Core Program in the Department of Art and Art History is a hands-on, community-based, year-long experience that affords new students in all degree programs—Studio Art, Art History, and Art Education—a primer in technical proficiencies and conceptual competencies to assist in their eventual entry into the various professional fields of visual art.
Be sure to check out our Student Insights videos from Itamar, Abby, Kalen, Diego and Emily learn more about the First Year Program through the voices of individual students at various stages of their academic career in the Department of Art and Art History.
The AAH First-Year Core Program is committed to creating a learning environment where students with diverse backgrounds and perspectives are welcomed and supported. AAH Core believes in the profound benefits of creating an inclusive environment. The diverse perspectives that students bring to our program strengthen and enrich our program and community. The AAH Core program strives to build a vibrant learning community with heightened awareness of implicit bias and microaggressions, and is committed to enhancing the university’s mission of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equality in all forms, including: race, ethnicity, geographic origin, sexual orientation, gender and gender identity, ability, age, socioeconomic status, first-generation status, and others who have been historically underrepresented on campus.
We do this actively through interrogating our own positions as faculty, building awareness of the forms of bias and discrimination, educating ourselves, acknowledging trauma, and frequently inventorying and evaluating the content we share in our classrooms and lecture series to decolonize and diversify our pedagogy. We also have been awarded the ACT: Art and Art History First-Year Core Diversity and Curriculum Decolonization Seed Grant, a significant portion of which goes towards a scholarship for diverse students with financial need.
Concept — The First-Year Core Program introduces the pursuit of knowledge as a fundamental precept of a life in the visual arts. Research, ideation, and a search for conceptual understanding are the starting place for all student projects.
Invention — Creative problem-solving and a commitment to new and unique solutions are encouraged. Students are pushed to process acquired knowledge into something that provides original insight.
Craft — An awareness and sensitivity to material usage. As young makers, students are introduced to the language of visual form through a variety of project prompts each with specific materials to explore.
Context — The language of form and composition is universal and fundamental to the discourse of visual arts. Students must become versed in this language in order to make and to intelligently discuss making (critique). The First-Year Core Program introduces context in relationship to art history and culture.
Community — Visual makers and thinkers do not exist in a vacuum, but instead rely heavily on their community for critical feedback and support. Students are scheduled into cohorts, allowing for maximum collaboration, connectivity and crossover to happen within the classroom and with their peers.
ART 311C — Core Studio: Drawing
First-year core studio class with an emphasis on techniques of drawing. Focus on line, line weight, continuous line, contour line, sighting, figure, gesture, perspective (two-point, three-point, and isometric/orthogonal drawing), value, color, and texture. Course projects will allow students to envision and understand drawing in a contemporary context.
ART 312C — Core Studio: 2D
First-year core studio class with an emphasis on creating planar works and exploring formal principles and conceptual concerns. Course projects will allow students to envision and understand planar works in a contemporary context.
ART 313C — Core Studio: 3D
First-year core studio class with an emphasis on creating spatial works and exploring formal principles and conceptual concerns. Working with space, time, structure, process, and material. Course projects will allow students to envision and understand spatial work in a contemporary context.
ART 314C — Core Studio: Time and Technology
First-year core studio class with an emphasis on time-based media and digital technology. Course projects will allow students to gain awareness of media art and ability to utilize digital technology and time-based media in a contemporary context.
Note — Art History majors choose between Core Studio: Drawing and Core Studio: 2D, and do not take the other two Core Studios. Studio Art and Art Education majors take all four Core Studios.
Art History Courses
In addition to the Core Studios, all students take the following Art History courses within the first year of study.
ARH 302 — Survey of Ancient through Medieval Art
A study of selected visual works throughout the world from prehistoric time to 1400 CE.
ARH 303 — Survey of Renaissance through Modern Art
A study of selected visual works throughout the world from 1400 CE to the present.
Megan Hildebrandt, Director, First-Year Core Program / Area Head — Core: Drawing
Zach Meisner, Area Head — Core: 2D
Erin Cunningham, Area Head — Core: 3D
Katy McCarthy, Area Head — Core: Time and Technology
Beili Liu, First-Year Core Faculty
Peter Abrami, Lecturer
Armando Cortes, Lecturer and 2021–22 Fellow, St. Elmo Arts Residency
Maura Murnane, Lecturer
Ariel Wood, Assistant Instructor
Alexandre Pepin, Assistant Instructor