Charles J. Colgan Sr. High School

Center for Fine and Performing Arts

Audition Packet 2022-23

Applications can be found on the PWCS Speciality Programs website at

To Get Started

  • Click on Application Process beginning November 1
  • To receive an audition for Colgan's Specialty program you must select Colgan as First Choice
  • Online applications for Colgan High School must be submitted by December 14th before 11:59 pm

Important Note: On the application you must make Colgan Center for Fine and Performing Arts your #1 choice.

Due to the high number of applicants, we can only schedule auditions for students who make Colgan their primary choice. If you are interested in the IT program at Forest Park, you can choose that as your second choice. If you are not chosen for Colgan, your name will be still entered in the lottery for your second choice.

Applicants for the Center for Fine and Performing Arts will:

  1. Complete the online application and submit it ONLINE
  2. Students only use your PWCS email ( on the application
  3. Participate in an audition or portfolio overview
  4. Dress appropriately for the virtual audition. Music Visual Art and Creative Writing students should dress professionally. Theatre and Dance students should dress comfortably for movement. (proper dance attire for dancers).
  5. Participate in the audition on the date and time given to you. You will receive this information in a letter in December via email after applications have been processed.

Audition Submissions due January 5th 2022 before 11:59 pm

See digital portfolio presentation guide

Visual Arts in-person Audition scheduled for

Saturday January 8th 2022 at Colgan High School

(bring your 7 works of art along with your typed letter of intent)

Audition letters will be sent electronically before Winter Break by central office along with the enrollment and qualifications forms for auditions

Prince William County Public Schools Division does not discriminate in employment or in its educational programs and activities against qualified individuals based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, age, veteran status or disability

Visual Arts Audition Requirements

Digital Submissions (slide presentations) are due no later than January 5, 2022 at 11:59 pm.

Students are to bring their actual 7 works of art to their audition on January 8, 2022.

Slide presentations will be submitted via the information provided by the office of specialty programs prior to Winter Break. Information about auditions will include required audition forms, selection of designated audition times, and the student’s slide presentation/digital portfolio.

For questions you can contact Mrs. Vicki T. Burns coordinator for Fine Arts via email at or by phone at 571-374-6178

Portfolio: The applicant will create a digital portfolio with photographs of 7 original works of art assembled in a slide presentation for audition. The portfolio should reflect a variety of subjects, media and artistic processes with at least one work of art being three-dimensional. (see rubric for assessment guidelines)

  • Subjects: portraiture, figurative, landscape, interior/exterior spaces, still life, observational vs imaginative
  • 2D Media: graphite, pen/ink, charcoal, pastels/oil pastels, marker, watercolors, tempera, gouache, acrylics, oils, collage, mixed media
  • 3D Media: clay, wire, paper mache, altered book art, recycled materials, assemblage/found object sculpture, stone, metal (2 sides: front an side views)
  • Processes: drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, mixed media, ceramics, sculpting

Note: If submitting character drawings (cartoon/anime) they must be an original design. Limit of 1.

Sketchbook: A sketchbook is a critical component of art making. The applicant is to submit a personal sketchbook with their portfolio reflecting evidence of visual research, preliminary sketches that accompany artwork in the portfolio and/or personal exploration of creative interests and media. (photographs of the student’s 5 best sketchbook pages will be included in their digital slide presentation) (see rubric for assessment guidelines)

Audition Drawing: The applicant will participate in a 60-minute drawing of a still life arrangement demonstrating their observation skills to capture accurate proportions, perspectives, and values that fully engages the drawing space. This drawing will be done at Colgan High School in one of the visual arts classrooms. Students must bring their own pencils, pens, and erasers with them to do this drawing. Paper and objects to be drawn will be provided. (See rubric for assessment guidelines)

Audition Interview: Students are to bring their best piece of artwork, only one, to be used for their audition interview on January 8, 2022 here at Colgan. (See rubric for assessment guidelines)

Student Letter of Intent: The applicant should bring a typed letter with them to Colgan on the day of their audition. This letter should state why they desire to be selected as part of the Visual Arts specialty component of the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts program at Charles J. Colgan High School addressing what they hope to gain by being a part of this program as well as what they will contribute as part of this program.

This letter should be solely typed by the applicant in their own words.(See rubric for assessment guidelines)

How to create and submit a digital portfolio using a slide presentation

Slide 1: Student's full name (Last/First) and current grade level

Slide 2: Title Only - Portfolio Section

For Slides 3-9 use a slide format with a text box and picture insert of a photo. The description of each work of art should include the media used to create it as well as a brief explanation about the meaning behind the artwork. Crop photos as needed to capture only the art itself removing any visual distractions.

Slide 3: photo of first work of art and description of artwork

Slide 4: photo of second work of art and description of artwork

Slide 5: photo of third work of art and description of artwork

Slide 6: photo of fourth work of art and description of artwork

Slide 7: photo of fifth work of art and description of artwork

Slide 8: photo of sixth work of art and description of artwork

Slide 9: photo of 3D/sculptural work of art (front and side views) and description of sculpture

Slide 10: Title Only - Sketchbook Section

For Slides 11-15 photos of work in personal sketchbook that reflects personal interests, variety of subjects, and media (descriptions optional>

Submit Slide Presentation to County Application website by January 5th, 2022 before 11:59 pm

The County will send audition information to each student who applies to one of the concentrations in Colgan’s Specialty Program prior to Winter Break.

Students will select a provided audition time on January 8, submit their 2 audition forms, as well as upload their slide presentation/digital portfolio provided by the county.

FAQ for Visual Arts Auditions

Is there a photography program at Colgan?

We offer Photography studies along with Computer Art at Colgan High School, but we are a fine arts program that focuses predominantly on traditional media such as drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpting and ceramics.

Can I submit a portfolio with mostly anime?

It is critical to follow the guidelines provided for auditions which states you may submit one animated work of art and it must be an original design. These guidelines are posted on the Colgan website.

What if I don't have a piece of sculpture for my portfolio?

It is important to make sure all requirements of the portfolio are submitted to earn the highest score possible. We suggest creating a sculpture out of paper, cardboard or found objects. Materials easily found around the house.

What if I don't draw in a sketchbook?

Sketchbooks are a critical tool for students to explore their own interests and experiment with media of personal interest. Submit drawings you have created that meet these criteria even if they are not in a bound sketchbook.

How many students will be accepted for Visual Arts?

There are no set number of students we accept. In the past 4 years, we have averaged about a 50% overall acceptance rate for Visual Arts. It depends on the total number of applicants and the space available in the school.

Does it hurt that I am not taking art in school?

Artwork is assessed both creatively and technically regardless of whether it was created under the instruction of a teacher. Submit examples of the best work you have created.

Do I need a specific type of camera to photography my work?

Any camera will do, but make sure to use quality lighting and to crop away distractions from around the artwork. For sculptures take 2 photographs from different angles to capture as much of the sculpture as possible. Photograph the sculpture on a solid surface with a solid background.