share this

Campus Connection information session: Oct. 16
See more event details here.
Share This Search

Academics . Foundation . Overview


At the Cleveland Institute of Art, all first-year students begin with our Foundation program, a yearlong introduction to forms, methods, media, and concepts crucial to your future academic and professional success. You will emerge from the program on technically equal footing with your peers—ready to concentrate on the study and practice of art and design.

Our Foundation curriculum offers an intensive exploration of color, form, design, and creative problem solving. You will begin with core courses in drawing, design, color, and digital studies that acquaint you with composition, drawing principles, and 2D and 3D materials and processes. As you work on studio projects, you will investigate visual dynamics, creative processes, and issues that inform contemporary art, design, and culture. To help you transition from Foundation studies into the major of your choice, you also will take an elective class. The elective offers an opportunity to explore various disciplines in the arts, crafts, and design areas while helping you make an informed choice about your major and future career path.

Be prepared for lively debates and the camaraderie that develops as you and your peers work together in studio. The Foundation experience fosters a learning environment that is responsive to your aspirations, as well as to innovations in the world of art and design. We balance fundamental approaches with experimentation to develop your aesthetic sensibilities. Take advantage of our amazing location in the center of Cleveland’s cultural district. Our classes regularly travel across the street to the permanent collections of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the exhibits of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, or through the rain forest of the Cleveland Botanical Garden. With Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals, and the Cleveland Clinic located a quick walk across Euclid Avenue, we tap into unmatched science and health care resources that boost our curriculum.

Three faculty, seven alumni recognized with Ohio excellence awards

Feature Story

Three faculty, seven alumni recognized with Ohio excellence awards


IT Help Desk

IT Help Desk

Running into trouble with your iPad? Submit an inquiry, and CIA’s IT department will get back to you with a solution!

Meet Your Professors view all

Christian Wulffen christianwulffenart01.jpgwulffenchristiannsvcfall20123.jpg

Christian Wulffen


Christian Wulffen has been an Associate Professor since 2003. He has a solo exhibition on display at Galerie ...more

Cores + Connections

Our connections are your connections.

While at CIA, you'll learn from the masters through our rigorous, world-class curriculum and connect with working professionals to begin your career.

Read More

Support CIA

Show the world creativity matters: make a gift to the annual fund.

Read More


Save the date. Four celebration events.

Read More

Cores + Connections

Creating. Connecting. Building better futures.