Becoming a thriving Artist-Citizen-Innovator requires more than knowing how to make something or deciding on a particular performance style.

We know artists are stronger in their own craft when they’re exposed to other art forms or diverse media. And we know artists can be extraordinarily adaptive, powerful problem-solvers when their work is grounded in a strong liberal arts education.

That’s why all students at Cornish participate in a first-year program—FOUNDATIONS for visual arts students and INTEGRATED STUDIES for performing arts students.

From your first day at Cornish, you’ll be immersed in a rich, collaborative community of peers and faculty who will situate a solid base of liberal arts coursework within the context of arts and culture—so you’ll learn the key transferable skills highly valued in our 21st century society and economy, like creative thinking, critical writing, and intercultural knowledge.


Art, Design, Film, and Interior Architecture majors spend the first year in FOUNDATIONS, a shared experience for all visual arts students. Foundations is highly collaborative, working with a small cohort in shared studios to explore both traditional and digital media, with guidance from faculty who are themselves professional artists. We know making and thinking go hand-in-hand, so you’ll tap your curiosity about ideas, experiences, and craft.

You’ll also gain instruction and practice in writing for diverse purposes and audiences, read across diverse genres and styles of texts, and explore liberal arts ideas across three disciplinary domains: the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Sciences.


Dance, Music, Performance Production, and Theater majors spend the first year in INTEGRATED STUDIES, where you explore ideas in a student-centered environment that integrates instruction and practice in reading, writing, and critical thinking with liberal arts content in diverse course themes. In the first year, you’ll write for diverse audiences and purposes, read a variety of texts in multiple genres and forms, and develop relationships with faculty and students in learning communities.



Studio Faculty:

Critical & Contextual Studies:

Humanities & Sciences: