Foundation Program

Foundation Program 2
About the Foundation Program

The Foundation Program combines focused skill development with multidisciplinary inquiry to lead students through a journey of creative growth. This program offers a well-rounded diagnostic approach to help students explore their different artistic interests and identify their creative strengths. Students will build self-confidence and develop skills and techniques across a variety engaging Art & Design disciplines including drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, mixed media, animation, and cartooning.

In partnership with Vancouver Civic Theatres, students will have the opportunity for a showcase exhibition and reception at The Vancouver Playhouse; special tours and workshops led by professional guest artists in exhibition at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre; year-end assessment and feedback from leading Arts Umbrella Art & Design faculty.

This yearlong twice per week program offers two different disciplinary streams – Foundation: Visual Arts and Foundation: Media Arts. Both follow a structure that combines a Core focus area with rotation of inspiring electives that encourages students to dive deep into their familiar discipline while pushing their creative horizons into new and exciting forms of working. Through this, they will be encouraged to apply fundamental Art & Design concepts across multiple media to develop a strong base of visual literacy, communication, and design.

Pathways: Visual Arts and Media Arts

Visual Arts

Students in the Visual Arts pathway will take Mixed Media, Sculpture & Ceramics, and Media Arts as their electives alongside their yearlong Visual Arts core class. This pathway is designed for students who wish to expand beyond the traditional practices of Drawing and Painting and experiment with different tools, materials, and mediums to develop a multidisciplinary, tactile and material-based foundation in Art & Design.

Media Arts

Students in the Media Arts pathway will take Cartooning, Animation, and Drawing & Painting as their electives alongside their yearlong Media Arts core class. This pathway is designed for students who wish to explore established, new and emerging technologies and connect those creative practices to the essential elements of storytelling, world-building, and personal voice to develop a digital and media-literate foundation in Art & Design.

Class Descriptions

Students explore both traditional, stop-motion and digital methods of animation as they consider all aspects of the creative process from narrative structures and storytelling to character design and world-building. They will use image and video editing software including Adobe Photoshop, Animator and After Effects to delve deep into the unique mechanics of time, motion, sound, and special effects.

In this class, students create text and image based narratives through the creative conventions of cartooning. Fundamental Art & Design elements such as composition, visual balance, movement, and scale are considered in close detail. Through pen and ink or pencil and marker, the fine motor skills of breathing life into the combination of character, story and illustration are central to the art of cartooning.

Drawing & Painting
Students will hone their technical skills and explore new modes of representation using traditional and non-traditional methods. Students will use the basic elements and principles of Art & Design to engage in a variety creative and experimental approaches to art-making. They will produce work from a variety of perspectives including reference, observation, or imagination to discover the transformative potential of marks on a surface.

Media Arts
Students work in the exciting realm of digital technologies to create original or composite images, graphics, and animations that explore fundamental aspects of digital media such as space, time, light, sound, and motion. Technical skills are honed through the use of cameras, computers, tablets and sound recorders in combination with creative software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Rush, GarageBand, GDesign, Pixel Art, and more. Students will learn to edit, manipulate, and create original digital media and gain a strong understanding of the all tools, techniques, and shortcuts necessary to become creative media artists.

Mixed Media
Students explore the potential of combining different materials including paint, wood, textile, paper, glass, plastic and even found objects to create works that range through assemblage, collage or relief. This course encourages students to consider design elements such as space, texture, and three-dimensional form and engages them in more hands-on sculptural skills such as cutting, sculpting, and pasting.

Sculpture & Ceramics
Students create three-dimensional works using a variety of carving and modelling techniques to shape, combine, craft, and construct freestanding artworks with a variety of sculptural tools. They will explore certain principles of Art & Design such as space, form, scale, texture, and balance and work with diverse media including wood, plaster, clay and wire. Through this, students will explore different modes of representation and abstraction inspired by contemporary and historical artists and consider the role and function that sculpture and ceramics play in our lives.


Finances should never prevent a child from participating in the arts. As a non-profit organization, Arts Umbrella is committed to making our programs accessible to as many children and youth in our communities as possible. The Arts Umbrella Bursary Fund allows hundreds of children to register in tuition-based programs at a reduced rate, based on your family’s financial need.

Applications for bursary funding are open to everyone. To view eligibility and submission details, please visit our Scholarships & Bursaries page. Your privacy matters to us. All applications are held in confidence.

Support Arts Umbrella

Arts Umbrella donors, volunteers, and sponsors share the same belief: that arts education can transform a child’s life. Whether attending an event, making a monthly gift, or donating time, our supporters are vital to helping us inspire creativity for good through the arts.