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Course List

View a list of courses in the First Year Experience.

Click a Course's Title to read its description .

Course # Course Title Credits
FF 100 Elements of Visual Thinking I 3 credits
Provides a foundation and an environment for investigating concepts and principles of visual organization, color, and design. Students cultivate the ability to access, field, and interpret different kinds of information. Encourages analysis of problems and personal inquiry as students develop vocabulary, technical skills, and critical awareness necessary for establishing a base for creative visual expression. A wide range of approaches and media may be used to develop greater perceptual and conceptual awareness and understanding. Each section of Elements of Visual Thinking is linked to the art history component, Art Matters, during one semester, and to the LLC component, Critical Inquiry, during the other semester. This structure emphasizes an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural learning experience. The instructor of Elements of Visual Thinking is also a primary advisor for the students for the entire freshman year.
FF 101 Sculptural Forms 3 credits
Principles of three-dimensional thinking form the groundwork for all design, planning, and building of forms in real space. Functional objects and utilitarian forms, sculpture and site-oriented installations, environmental art and architecture—all call upon a basic threedimensional vocabulary. This course helps students develop an understanding of the interaction of forms in space. Using basic sculptural processes and readily available materials, students investigate three-dimensional ideas and decision making.
FF 102 Elements of Visual Thinking II 3 credits
Continuation of Elements of Visual Thinking I.

Prerequisite: FF 100

FF 111 Forum 3 credits
In this yearlong rigorous transdisciplinary thematic studio experience, students from a variety of majors investigate ways of being a creative person in today’s world. Topics include contemporary practice, social and global issues, personal and professional development, historical and theoretical perspectives, as well as MICA-specific initiatives. Through creative work, dialogue, the written word, research and presentations, students work individually and in groups to reflect critically on course content as they consider the rich array of possibilities for twenty-first century art and design. The course culminates in a self-reflective portfolio presentation integrating all first year courses.

First year students only

FF 120A Found and Focused 3 credits
In order to invent visual languages and formulate fresh ideas, contemporary artists and designers find materials in the world around them on which to base their creative explorations. In this immersive color and design course, students employ appropriation, collage, assemblage, photomontage, and décollage to investigate meanings, contexts and cultural implications of visual organization and color interaction. Working in an experimental and iterative manner, with materials ranging from liquid to print and from lens to light, students begin to develop their own visual language as they increase their understanding of color and design.
FF 120B Surface and Screen 3 credits
Patterns are everywhere around us: embedded in surfaces, situated in screens, and emerging from everyday interaction, connection, and communication. In this immersive color and design course, students attend to pattern in all its physical and metaphorical manifestations in order to explore the ways in which image and idea emerge from the organization of form and the interaction of color. Using iterative and experimental processes, students engage with contemporary notions of visual literacy, abstraction, composition, and cultural agency – in order to deepen their understanding of color and design while developing their own visual language.
FF 130A Prototype.Situate.Fabricate. 3 credits
Contemporary artists and designers create, represent, respond to, and reflect – on form, function and structures in space – by prototyping their ideas, by situating themselves and the objects they make in real and imagined worlds, and by abricating forms that address real-world problems or that prompt us to articulate new ones. As developing artists and designers, students in this course create, represent, respond, and reflect in order to prototype, situate, and fabricate structures in space. Students experience these ways of working through additive and subtractive fabrication, digital and analog approaches, engagement with diverse materials, and research of ecological, social, and cultural implications of the impact on the built world.
FF 130B Body/World/Machine 3 credits
As the boundaries between body, world, and machine continue to grow increasingly blurry, contemporary artists and designers share a world that is mediated by technologies. Using a variety of studio approaches, students explore the role of the body, social space, and the media through intensive studio production in a range of formats. To support student development of concept and craft, students are challenged to integrate emerging understandings of history and theory with creative output.
FF 140A Haptics and Optics 3 credits
Through a range of processes, from historical photographic techniques to digital capture and compositing, students explore the interactions between time, the lens, and the tactile world. In so doing, students are invited to investigate contemporary questions and practices that exist at the intersection of photography, film, video, audio, book and animation. This research leads to the production and presentation of time-based works that exist between and beyond the usual media constraints.
FF 140B Cartographies 3 credits
The earliest maps are thought to have been created to help people find their way and to reduce fear of the unknown. Maps continue to tell stories beyond mere geographic location, inspiring us to ask questions and consider possible routes. In this course, students analyze patterns in their own reality, and working both independently and collaboratively, use time-based media to invent new cartographies.
FF 148 Finding Baltimore 3 credits
In this course, Baltimore is not a place but a process of self discovery -- a “finding” of sorts that provides students with the opportunity to think critically about their place in the world. As a group, students will travel throughout the City; interact with a host of people from different walks of life; visit new, wonderful, and unusual places; and investigate the important issues and themes of the day. Students will keep a visual diary of their ideas, opinions and feelings about these interactions and make artwork in a wide variety of media. Students also have the opportunity to work with local elementary school children or senior citizens -- and produce small murals or other site specific artwork. This course emphasizes the importance of “being there,” present in the moment and fully cognizant of one’s own relationship to a real, living environment. The vast majority of class sessions will be held “somewhere” in Baltimore. Students will carpool. Guest speakers and community artists will visit with students throughout the semester.

First year students only

FF 161 Drawing:Tradition & Innovation 3 credits
Drawing is an active form of thinking and a cultivable skill that can be used to support a range of art and design disciplines. This studio intensive course explores the principles, techniques, media, and applications of drawing through analog-based perceptual drawing practice. Central to this course is the “Tradition and Innovation Research Project,” in which each student researches a historical tradition of drawing, presents on that chosen tradition, and, in a culminating sustained project, creates a drawing or set of drawings that innovates on that tradition.
FF 162 Drawing:Contemporary Practice 3 credits
Drawing in the twenty-first century is a dynamic field of inquiry characterized by a range of material and conceptual approaches. Building on analog and digital experiences from Drawing: Tradition and Innovation, this course provides students opportunities to enhance their drawing practice using a variety of media to: investigate the lens and the frame as formal and conceptual tools; articulate structural aspects of dimension and space; and explore aspects of time through sequential or iterative processes.
FF 175 Foundation Painting II 3 credits
Consolidates concepts and methods from FF 150 Painting I and leads students to expanded perceptual awareness. Projects may include still life, landscape, and the figure, as well as abstract and conceptual concerns to enhance each student’s formal and personal development. There is ongoing concern with painting materials and techniques.

First year students only

FF 198 Drawing I 3 credits
With emphasis on observational drawing, this course develops the student's greater conceptual and technical understanding of drawing as an expressive medium. Various drawing materials, methods and subjects are explored as a means to cultivate perceptual ability and descriptive drawing skills. A range of drawing concepts is covered, including: effective use of line, mass, value, composition and perspective. Note: Cross listed - see FF 199
FF 199 Drawing II 3 credits
Continuation of Drawing I, further develops the student’s abilities in observational drawing, moving them into more individualized problems within a broader conceptual range. To help students find a personal direction, various approaches to drawing are explored. Students may work with, among other subjects, the figure, mixed media, color, narration, and abstraction. Prerequisite: FF 198.

Prerequisite: FF 198

FF 210 Electronic Media and Culture 3 credits
EMAC is a studio class that broadly introduces students to electronic media, cultural literacy, and technologies, as they relate to art and design. Recognizing that one must be as proficient in critical thinking as understanding the digital tools and processes, Students will be introduced to a variety of electronic art forms; network experiences; contemporary artists and designers; and authoring tools necessary for static and time-based production including video, digital photography, sound, and online interaction.