Fine Art Foundation

Before you can truly showcase your talents as an artist, you need a solid, technical foundation. The one-year Fine Art Foundation certificate will help you to develop the necessary skills in painting, drawing, video, sculpture, and photography so that you can reach your creative potential.


As a student pursuing your fine art foundation certificate, you’ll participate in studio-based projects and develop a portfolio of work in your chosen media. You’ll also be given essential instruction in art history from Ancient times through the French Revolution, all the way to the First World War. In addition to strong theoretical training, you’ll also develop valuable written and verbal communication skills as part of your fine arts training. With its emphasis on professionalism in a design workplace, the fine art certificate course will help you prepare to meet the needs of arts employers and the communities they serve.

If you decide to progress with your studies, the fine art certificate courses will be excellent training for entering year two of Fanshawe’s in-depth three-year Fine Art advanced diploma program. If you choose to move directly into the working world, the certificate will prepare you to seek entry-level positions such as gallery attendant or artistic assistant.

artist at their workstation

Program Overview

Fine Art Foundation is a one-year certificate program designed to give a broad base of experience and knowledge in the visual arts.  This foundation year introduces students to the fundamentals of art and design: practical skills, critical thinking and visual vocabulary.  Studies in this program include painting, drawing, video, sculpture, photography and art history.  Through studio based projects students will develop a portfolio of work in a range of media.  

This program prepares students for the Advanced Diploma program in Fine Art at Fanshawe College, or advanced arts programs at other institutions, as well as prepares students who are seeking entry-level employment opportunities requiring fundamental visual arts skills.


Frequently Asked Questions

Tools Required

Faculty Bios


Career Information

Fanshawe’s Fine Art Foundation program will prepare students for entering more advanced art programs or seek entry-level employment opportunities such as:

  • gallery attendant
  • art supply store assistant
  • artist assistant
  • web designer
  • multimedia designer
  • animation
  • advertising
  • graphic designer

Did you know Fanshawe consistently ranks high in graduation employment rates among large colleges in Ontario? 

Here are some examples of career opportunities for graduates of Fanshawe’s Fine Art Foundation program:

Museum Assistant
Provide museum tours, work with collections, sell merchandise and help plan events.

Packaging Designer
Design posters, signage, web/magazine ads, display units in various retail settings.

Gallery Attendant
Help curators in moving objects and changing gallery displays.


Learning Outcomes

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to

1. Create two and three-dimensional projects using a wide range of materials, processes and techniques.

2. Use an artistic process to develop and solve visual problems using various strategies for idea generation.

3. Apply the formal elements and principals of visual language.

4. Utilize a variety of presentation skills appropriate to critiques, public and private venues.

5. Develop skills in presenting a personal portfolio using a variety of media through studio based projects.

6. Articulate art concepts, history and the role of art in society to the general public.


Program Availability

Canadian Students

Start Dates

Full Time Offerings

2022 September

International Students

Start Dates

Full Time Offerings

2022 September

Program Details

Program Code
Academic School

Program Coordinator:

Gary Spearin

Day Time
Preparatory Program
Ontario College Certificate
30 weeks

Admission Requirements

OSSD with courses from the College (C), University (U),
University/College (M), or Open (O) stream
Academic and Career Entrance Certificate (ACE) 
Ontario High School Equivalency Certificate (GED)
Mature Applicant with appropriate preparation
English Language Requirements

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in English by one of the following methods:

  • A Grade 12 College Stream or University Stream English credit from an Ontario Secondary School, or equivalent, depending on the program's Admission Requirements
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) test with a minimum score of 79 for the Internet-based test (iBT), with test results within the last two years
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic test with an overall score of 6.0 with no score less than 5.5 in any of the four bands, with test results within the last two years. SDS Program Requirements.  
  • Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) test with an overall score of 60 with no score less than 50 in any of the four bands, with test results within the last two years
  • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE) with a minimum score of 53, with test results within the last two years
  • A Cambridge English Test (FCE/CAE/CPE) with an overall score on the Cambridge English Scale of 169 with no language skill less than 162, with test results within the last two years
  • An English Language Evaluation (ELE) at Fanshawe College with a minimum score of 70% in all sections of the test, with test results within the last two years
  • Fanshawe College ESL4/GAP5 students: Minimum grade of 80% in ESL4/GAP5 Level 8, 75% in ESL4/GAP5 Level 9, or 70% in ESL4/GAP5 Level 10
Recommended Academic Preparation

Recommended Academic Preparation

  • Any Grade 12 English (C), (U), or (O)
  • Grade 11 Visual Arts (M) or (O) or Grade 12 Visual Arts (M)
  • Grade 11 Music (M) or (O) or Grade 12 Music (M) AND/OR Grade 11 Drama (M) or (O) or Grade 12 Drama (M)
  • Grade 12 Media Arts (M)
Recommended Personal Preparation

Recommended Personal Preparation

  • Develop an interest and appreciation for art by visiting galleries, attending theatre and reading about the arts
  • Attempt to explore as many facets of art as possible
Applicant Selection Criteria

Applicant Selection Criteria

Where the number of eligible applicants exceeds the available spaces in the program, the Applicant Selection Criteria will be:
  1. Preference for Permanent Residents of Ontario
  2. Receipt of Application by February 1st (After this date, Fanshawe College will consider applicants on a first-come, first-served basis until the program is full)
  3. Achievement in the Admission Requirements
Post-Admission Requirements

Post-Admission Requirements

See Post-Admission Requirements

Tuition Summary


Canadian Costs
Total Cost of Program
International Costs
Total Cost of Program

*Total program costs are approximate, subject to change and do not include the health and dental plan fee, bus pass fee or program general expenses.



Year 1
Take all of the following Mandatory Courses:
WRIT-1037Reason & Writing 1-Contemporary Media3
This course will introduce contemporary media students to essential principles of reading, writing, and reasoning at the postsecondary level. Students will identify, summarize, analyze, and evaluate multiple short readings and write persuasive response essays to develop their vocabulary, comprehension, grammar, and critical thinking.
ARTS-1002Perceptual Studies 14
Using the figure, still life, objects, materials, the environment and the studio space, the student will learn to see and evaluate the visual world and, through analysis, interpret visual impressions into basic two-dimensional form. This will be done through the use of a variety of drawing media including; pencil, ink, conte, crayon, chalk and collage.
ARTS-1005Painting 14
This is an introductory painting course designed to introduce students to the basic principles and properties of fine art painting. Students will explore basic colour theory and a variety of introductory painting techniques. Knowledge of the tools of painting and their proper handling, as well as the language of painting will be introduced. Students will execute compositions in paint in differing scales and from a variety of sources. Lectures, demonstrations and field trips will provide students with an introductory overview of the history of painting. Acrylic paints will be the painting medium used in this course.
ARTS-1006Sculpture 14
This studio course explores traditional as well as contemporary sculpture materials and processes. Emphasis is on both additive and subtractive methods of working. Goals include acquiring technical skills, understanding the physical and expressive possibilities of diverse materials, and learning safe, appropriate use of tools and materials
This one semester course is designed to introduce students to an appreciation of the inter-disciplinary aspects of contemporary art. The course will provide students with an introduction to work in digital time-based media, including video and sound. Class projects will be structured around various techniques and methods of working and shooting and editing of video including the spoken word and performance.
ARTS-1015Introduction to Photography4
This introductory level course is structured to provide a balance between technical instruction and demonstrations, out-of-class shooting assignments, photographic lab practices, discussion of ideas and concepts related to the history of Fine Art photographic images and processes. A critical analysis of student's work and its connection to the subject of art will be ongoing.
ARTS-1071Methods & Media in Drawing3
In this introductory course students will investigate methods and materials in two dimensional artworks such as; watercolour, pencil crayon, ink, pastel, relief printing and collage. Emphasis will be placed on constructing composition, design principles and implementing basic colour theory in drawing. Subject matter and visual resources may consist of studies from the object, figure, the constructed/natural landscape and pattern. Students will work in a variety of scales and use a variety of paper supports. Students will select, from a list provided (see course plan), and explore a single theme throughout the term applied within the use of multiple drawing media. Compositions must be created from a variety of sources e.g. found and personal photographs, still life, direct observation, dioramas, imagination etc.
ARTS-10072D & 3D Design4
In this course, formal, communicative and conceptual aspects of basic design are covered through projects, in-class assignments, lectures and discussions. Students are presented with introductory visual problems and are challenged to devise their own solutions in both 2-and 3-dimensions, in a variety of media including computer graphics. Problem-solving skills, willingness to research, craftsmanship, and professionalism are all important to success in this course.
ARTS-1009Perceptual Studies 24
This course builds on the techniques and materials explored in ARTS 1002. Students will further explore and evaluate the visual world with an emphasis placed on concept development, analysis and interpretation of the visual world. Students are encouraged to experiment with drawing media. Students will work in a variety of scales and in a variety of drawing media.
ARTS-1010Painting 24
This course is designed to advance the basic understanding of colour theory and painting techniques acquired in ARTS 1005--Painting 1. Expanded colour theory, increasingly complex techniques and compositional strategies are emphasized. Students will be introduced to the uses of various acrylic mediums and will explore a variety of supports/grounds and scales in their work. The language of painting will continue to develop as well as an introductory understanding of the concept-development, inspirations and processes of painting throughout history.
ARTS-1011Sculpture 24
A continuation of Sculpture 1 this course encourages the further development of understanding sculpture through studio practice. Problem solving in three dimensions and issues including perception, metaphor, communication and composition will be discussed and explored through projects, discussions and presentations. Fundamental development of technical skills and manipulation of media are explored while maintaining safe and appropriate use of tools and materials.
COMM-3074Communications for Design3
This course, designed for students who plan to work in the field of art and design, focuses on professional written and verbal communication skills. Students learn to prepare a variety of work-related documents. In addition, students learn about research methods and documentation formats. The principles of effective writing - organization, grammar, style, clarity, and tone - are reinforced throughout the course. The goal of the course is to prepare students for the communication tasks and considerations they will encounter in the workplace in order to meet the needs of employers and/or the communities they will serve.
HIST-1046Ancient Origins to High Renaissance3
This course introduces students to the history of Western art and architecture by examining key works within the intellectual and social context that they were created. Because art does not develop in a vacuum, the philosophical, religious, scientific, etc., background of each period will be examined in order to gain a fuller understanding of important artistic trends. The overall goal of this course is to provide a working knowledge of the history of Western art and architecture as well as a foundation for critical thinking about art's history.
HIST-3028European Art: Mannerism to Contemporary3
This course continues students' education of the history of Western art and architecture by examining key works within the intellectual and social context that they were created. Beginning with Mannerism which wind downs the Renaissance period and points to heralding the birth of the Modern era, students will learn about the technological and intellectual advances that will shape and inform some of the most radical changes in Art History, including the foundation of abstraction, the birth of photography and the move into the post-modern era. The background of each period will be examined in order to gain a fuller understanding of important artistic trends. The overall goal of this course is to provide a working knowledge of the history of Western art and architecture as well as a foundation for critical thinking about art's history.
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