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Foundation Visual Arts (FVA)

This is a 1-year certificate program that prepares you for further studies in the visual arts and is the starting point for the majority of our students.

This FVA is designed to offer a wide-ranging overview of the practice, theory, and history of the visual arts. It provides a solid technical grounding and an understanding of the conceptual framework of visual art. You learn hands-on in a project-based curriculum. Visual literacy and problem solving skills are emphasized through courses in drawing, design, colour study and the creative process. You will have the opportunity to make products by exploring a variety of the College’s studios: Ceramics, Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Integrated Media, Jewellery / Metal Arts, Photography and Textiles.

The creation of an individual portfolio which documents your course work and professional development is the essential outcome of the program. This enables you to continue in the Diploma Programs at our College or at other leading institutions in Canada and beyond.

High School students and/or recent graduates who do not possess any post-secondary education in the visual arts are required to apply directly to the FVA Program before acceptance can be granted into our diploma programs. You are not required to submit a portfolio.

To be admitted to FVA you are required to have:

• High School Diploma or Adult High School Diploma or GED Diploma of High School Equivalency.

Click here for more information on how to apply.

You will be working with celebrated instructors in fully-equipped studios, Apple computer labs and classrooms. Coming here, you will learn first-hand why Fredericton is a Cultural Capital of Canada. The galleries, boutiques, universities and many cafés make the College’s downtown location an inspiring and supportive learning environment and an ideal place to obtain an education in the visual arts.

For information on the FVA Program contact Coordinating Instructor Jan Brooks at (506)453-8669, or gnb.ca. If you are looking for more information on application procedures, other program options, continuing education evening classes or scheduling a tour, please see contact details below.

Click here for more information on this program or to enjoy an on-site tour of our facility.


Areas of Study


• Drawing, Colour, 2D and 3D Design Elements and Principles 

• Historical Trends and Contemporary Theory 

• Skill Development (fine craft, applied design and visual arts practice)
• Communications
• Creative Process and Visual Problem Solving
• Studios specialties: Ceramics, Digital Media, Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Jewellery/Metal Arts, Photography, Textiles Design


Career Possibilities

Although FVA does not target a specific job, graduating from this program can lead to you to many careers in the visual arts.


Targeted Jobs (including NOC codes)

• Painters, Sculptors and Other Visual Artists (5136) 

• Artisans and Craftspersons (5244) 

National Occupational Classification (NOC)


Articulation Agreements


This program can be used towards your first year of a Bachelor of Applied Arts (BAA) at the University of New Brunswick. Click here for more information.



Certificate - Foundation Visual Arts Course Descriptions

Fall 1

Colour Study

In this course, students apply the precepts of colour theory through the manipulation and application of colour. They identify specific colour relationships, contrasts and harmonies as they become familiar with mixing complex colour. In addition, they investigate how artists and designers use colour and in turn how people respond to colour. Through the production of specific assignments, students use their understanding of the physiology and psychology of colour to build a reference portfolio for future studies.


Drawing from Observation


In this course, students acquire the ability to draw from observation through the application and exploration of drawing elements, principles and strategies. They produce drawings that use the basic elements including line, shape, space, and value as well as apply principles such as composition and perspective. In addition, they experiment with and apply a variety of materials such as pencil, charcoal and inks. Through progressive assignments, students prepare for continued exploration in drawing for personal enjoyment and development, and /or further studies.


2D Design

In this course, students acquire a working knowledge of 2D design by generating work that reflects the application of design elements and principles. In addition, they use a variety of materials such as pencil, pen and ink, collage and mixed media in the completion of assigned projects. Students integrate 2D design elements and principles, and their acquired knowledge of the characteristics of various media to engage in visual problem-solving and effective decision making.


Media Explorations I

In this course, students gain insight into the College’s diverse studio offerings which include: Ceramics, Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Integrated Media, Jewellery/Metal Arts, Photography and Textiles. In Media Explorations I, students explore their first two of the six studios over the academic year. This course is designed to familiarize students with a broad range of visual media and studio environments and assist them in determining their area of specialization for further and more comprehensive studies.


History of Visual Culture: Prehistory to 1600

In this survey course, students examine the nature and meaning of art, craft, and design as it relates to the history of human culture from pre-history to 1600. Specifically, through illustrated, interactive lectures and tutorial sessions, students analyze the way in which works of art, craft and design function as aesthetic objects and cultural artifacts. By investigating a select number of significant events, students produce written assignments which develop important foundational skills, including those related to analysis and interpretation of the visual arts.


Communications and Student Success


In this course, students acquire the communication skills essential to success in the study of visual arts. Using a critical approach, they respond to articles, imagery and discussion topics, to develop English language conventions including skills related to argumentation, exposition, and persuasion. Through a series of assignments, students generate a collection of written, verbal and visual assignments that reflect effective use of English language, style and form.


Winter 2


The Creative Process


In this course, students integrate an analytical approach to solving visual problems with the production of projects in various media. Specifically, by evaluating creative concepts that encompass research, visual and critical problem solving, critiques and self-reflection, they develop and refine their approach to critical analysis. To facilitate successful learning, students engage in class presentations, selected projects and editing of personal work for a portfolio.



Drawing from Observation: Form and Expression


In this course, students build upon their introductory drawing skills by increasing accuracy (technical skill), refining personal style and using drawing as a means of creative visual expression. By focusing on strategies aimed at the need for enquiry, students create interpretive and expressive responses to the visual. Students use a variety of approaches that address complex subject matter, in particular the human figure, using wet and dry drawing materials. Through progressive assignments, students prepare for continued exploration in drawing for personal enjoyment and development, and /or further studies.


3D Design

In this course, students acquire a working knowledge of 3D design by generating work that reflects the application of 3D design elements and principles. In addition, they use a variety of materials such as pencil, pen and ink, collage and mixed media in the completion of assigned projects. Students use the elements and principles of 3D design and their acquired knowledge of the characteristics of various media to engage in visual problem-solving and effective decision making.


Media Explorations II

In this course, students gain insight into the College’s diverse studio offerings which include: Ceramics, Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Integrated Media, Jewellery/Metal Arts, Photography and Textiles. In Media Explorations II, students explore an additional two studios of the six studios they will experience over the academic year. This course is designed to familiarize students with a broad range of visual media and studio environments and assist them in determining their area of specialization for further and more comprehensive studies.


Media Explorations III


In this course, students experience various media techniques and gain insight into the College’s diverse studios which include: Ceramics, Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Integrated Media, Jewellery/Metal Arts, Photography and Textiles. In Media Explorations III, students explore the last two studios of the six studios they will experience over the academic year. This course is designed to familiarize students with a broad range of visual media and studio environments and assist them in determining their area of specialization for further and more comprehensive studies.



History of Visual Culture: 1600 to Present


In this survey course, students examine the nature and meaning of art, craft, and design as it relates to the history of human culture from 1600 to the present. Specifically, through illustrated, interactive lectures and tutorial sessions, students analyze the way in which works of art, craft and design function as aesthetic objects and cultural artifacts. By investigating a select number of significant events, students produce written assignments which develop important foundational skills, including those related to analysis and interpretation of the visual arts.


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