The Foundations Program—the freshman year for all Art, Design, Film+Media, and Interior Architecture students—is about working together with faculty and peers so that you have what you need to develop your creative voice.

We believe that opportunities open up when students who paint are exposed to design; when designers understand film; when filmmakers draw. It may not show up in your work immediately, but diversity in all its manifestations changes the realm of what’s possible.

In Foundations, you’ll study with a small cohort in shared studios. Our faculty, professional artists themselves, are adept at knowing when to give you structure and when to let your ideas roam. Your projects will be iterative and collaborative, a mix of making, research, reading, and writing. We’ll bring humanities and science into the picture as well.

Your work will include both digital and analog processes. You’ll learn from the past and shape your own future.

Critically, you’ll experience all this in Seattle, an urban center surrounded by stunning natural resources, where pop culture and high culture join forces, where the theoretical and material together spark concepts unimagined. It’s no wonder our city is one of the most potent creative communities in the country.

Foundations is a program for taking things in: skills, content, concepts. At year’s end, you’ll choose to focus on Art, Design, Film+Media, or Interior Architecture.

And the edges will always be as porous as you want them to be.

How It Works

The Foundations program at Cornish College of the Arts is a cohort-based model, meaning that students work together in groups within a shared studio environment. The program broadly introduces first year visual arts students to relevant research practices within the disciplines of Art, Design, Film and Media and Interior Architecture. All of which informed by relevant cultural, historical and social perspectives that frame contemporary creative practice. Student learning is situated within three fully integrated units of inquiry: Studio, the Humanities and Sciences, and Critical and Contextual Studies.

First year writing is completed as part of this model Over the course of the Foundations year, students will develop integrative learning skills across and beyond the curriculum in conjunction with an increased capacity to transfer knowledge and learning between subjects, while being exposed to a broad spectrum of practices from multiple disciplinary perspectives. Reading, writing, research and making are emphasized as equally important components within an informed and adaptive practice. As students progress through the program, they work closely with faculty to develop an individual perspective and a personal artistic direction, developing skills in both analogue and digital media. Full time studio space and ongoing access to equipment and facilities provide the student with opportunity to work within various communities of practice, and to develop cumulative learning while simultaneously developing an ongoing awareness of their work. The Foundations Program culminates with students selecting one of three pathways: Art, Design, or Film + Media.


The Foundations studios are configured to a flexible and adaptive shared workspace that models the culture of the program. They are spacious, with high ceilings and lots of natural light. Students have access to their studios late into the evenings and on weekends.


The Foundations curriculum is intentionally designed to facilitate making connections and build content across subject areas with research-directed learning outcomes. Students register for the following three units per semester for a total of 15 credits. These units are fully integrated to deliver an intentionally connected framework that models and builds integrative skills and learning.

An example of a typical weekly schedule

11am         STUDIO FN123
2pm C+C FN133 H+S HS113
3pm C+C FN133 H+S HS113 C+C FN133

Laptop Policy

All incoming students will need to purchase a laptop and software before the start of classes. Provided below is a list for you to make sure you have everything you will need.

In order to redeem the education discount you can either take your Cornish Student ID with you to an Apple store, or you can purchase directly through the Apple online store.

If you have already invested in a different system or have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the Design Department IT Support Coordinator or the Resource Lab Manager

Faculty & Staff


First Slide

November 3, 2016

Platforms of Exchange — Junior-Senior Exhibition Nov 4

The annual Junior-Senior collaborative exhbition, Platforms of Exchange will be open to the public on November 4.

The Opening and Reception for Platforms of Exchange (POE) will be open to the public one day only, o...

First Slide

November 3, 2016

Origins of Biometric Data Viewable Through December

Part of 9e2 Seattle, Geraldine Ondrizek’s exhibition, Origins of Biometric Data, remains on view in the President's Gallery through December 17. For members of the public, viewing may be done by appointment. The gallery is open to students, faculty, and staff Monday through Friday during normal business hours.

As part of 9e2 Seattle, Creative Corridor Interim Chair Genevieve Tremblay arranged for an exhibitio...

First Slide

October 12, 2016

Julie Myers Heads New Interior Architecture Program

Since 2007, Julie Myers has been teaching interior architecture at Cornish College of the Arts. A leader in her field, she's now Chair of the newly created Interior Architecture department. Cornish began offering a BFA in Interior Architecture this year.

Cornish College of the Arts Provost and VP of Academic Affairs Moira Scott Payne has named Julie Mye...

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September 14, 2016

Cornish Presents 2016/17: Theater, Music, Dance, Performance, and Jazz

While best known for the terrific jazz at PONCHO co-produced with Earshot Jazz, Cornish Presents is a multidisciplinary series of visiting artists, beloved alumni, and distinguished faculty. The 2016/17 season is no exception.

Following last month’s special remount of Raisins  in a Glass of Milk at the Cornish Playhous...

Raisins in a Glass of Milk August 25-27, 8:00 p.m. Begun as a senior thesis project, Ra...

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September 6, 2016

President Kevorkian Speaks at First Convocation

At the beginning of each academic year, the community of Cornish College of the Arts comes together for Convocation. This year is special, as a new president, Chris Kevorkian, stepped up to the podium.

On Tuesday morning September 6, the students, faculty, and staff of Cornish College of the Arts met...

​I will maintain respect for the dignity and integrity of each person. i will safeguard...

The mission of Cornish College of the Arts is to provide students aspiring to become practicing arti...

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September 2, 2016

Nathan DiPietro and Clyde Petersen Receive 2016 Neddy Artist Awards

The winners and finalists of the 2016 Neddy Artist Awards will gather on September 15 at Pivot Art + Culture in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood. In recognition of the Neddy Artist Awards' 20 years of supporting contemporary artists in the Puget Sound region, works from the 2016 winners and finalists will displayed with a representation of past Neddy Artist Award winners.

The 2016 Neddy Artist Awards go to Nathan DiPietro (painting) and Clyde Petersen (open medium). The...

“Neddy Artist Awards: 20 Years” will run September 15 through October 23 at Pivot Art + Culture...

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August 10, 2016

Seattle, Summer, Science Fiction & Cosplay

In Seattle, summer is special — especially if you're into cosplay, gaming, or science fiction. Cornish College of the Arts students take advantage of Seattle's geek culture year round and contribute to many of the bigger events going on.

Right around the corner from Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center is the International DOTA 2 Champio...

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May 17, 2016

Commencement 2016 Welcome: Be Thoroughly Outrageous

In her welcome to the graduating Class of 2016, Dr. Nancy J. Uscher, President of Cornish College of the Arts, exorted them to not only be ready for what comes next, but to meet it head on, to be thoroughly outrageous in their approach to the arts and to life.

Delivered May 14, 2016 Commencement 2016 Welcome by President Nancy J Uscher, PhD. This is a mome...

First Slide

March 23, 2016

Tony Award Winner Ben Vereen To Give 2016 Commencement Address

Broadway legend Ben Vereen will give the Commenncement address as part of the 2016 graduation ceremonies at McCaw Hall on May 14.

Cornish College of the Arts President Nancy J. Uscher announced today that Honorary Doctorate degree...

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February 20, 2016

Kronos Quartet Residency Begins This Month

As previously announced, the Kronos Quartet will be in Seattle from February 20 to 24. They will lead a two-day interdisciplinary residency on campus with Cornish students that extends well outside of the music department. There will also be a number of free off-site events for students.

Cornish students from all departments will have an opportunity to interact with the famed Kronos Qua...

The Kronos Quartet—David Harrington, John Sherba (violins), Hank Dutt (viola), and Sunny Yang (cel...