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

March 24, 2017

First-Year Students Share a Novel and an Experience

A new part of matriculating in at Cornish, entering freshmen shared a moving novel as part of the First Year Reads program, then completed the experience on the streets of Seattle's International District.

Cornish is a college where collaboration and working across boundaries is at a premium, so a new pro...

First Slide

February 14, 2017

Historic Seattle Lecture Explores Cornish History

David Martin, the curator of Cascadia Art Museum exhibition on Cornish College of the Arts' history, will lecture on the history of the school on March 6, 7 p.m., at PONCHO. This event is part of the Historic Seattle 2017 educational program for lovers of buildings and heritage.

“Miss Aunt Nellie” as she was affectionately known, was arguably the most important figure in Wa...

First Slide

January 31, 2017

We All Thrive In An Interconnected World

The following was sent on Monday by interim President Chris Kevorkian to the Cornish College of the Arts community. In a typical academic year, the college has students from more than a dozen countries on campus. In the last few years, students have come from Bermuda, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan, and Thailand, among others.

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff, Trustees, and other members of our community, I write to you today...

First Slide

January 13, 2017

January 18 Deadline Fast Approaching for Cornish-VCFA Masters Program

The Vermont College of Fine Arts offers both an innovative, accelerated, combined BFA/MAT program with Cornish, as well as their fine standard MAT. Both programs have an application deadline coming up.

One of the landmark events of recent years has been the first involvement in a graduate program by C...

First Slide

November 3, 2016

Platforms of Exchange — Junior-Senior Exhibition Nov 4

The annual Junior-Senior collaborative exhibition, 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...

First Slide

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...

First Slide

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...

First Slide

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...