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 [email protected] 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.

Visual Arts Audition Rubric

Portfolio (60 Points)

Variety of media, processes, and technical outcomes


5+ examples of variety evident in portfolio


4 contrasting types of media evident in portfolio


3 contrasting types of media evident in portfolio


2 contrasting types of media evident in portfolio


Only form of media evident in the portfolio

Variety of subject matter with no more than one animated work of art


extremely diverse, almost no repetition of same subject


strong variety but some subjects repeated once


some variety but one subject repeated 3 times


lacking variety, only 2 subjects evident


no variety, all the same subject

3D Sculpture

  • Creativity
  • Craftsmanship
  • Depth of Form


reflects an advanced use of 3D form with strong craftsmanship in a unique manner


reflects above average use of 3D form with some improvements needed in either craftsmanship or creativity


reflects average use of 3D form with improvements with needed in both craftsmanship and creativity


form is very flat with strong improvements needed in both craftsmanship and creativity


work reflects little understanding of 3D form, craftsmanship nor creativity. Note: “0” if not included in portfolio

Observation Drawing

  • Composition
  • Technical drawing of forms
  • Craftsmanship
  • Depth of values
  • Attention to detailing


strong use of all 5 areas of observation drawing


strong use of most areas of observation drawing but one area needs improvement


good use of most areas of observation drawing but two areas needing improvement


more areas need improving than are strong


all areas need improving NOTE: “0” if not included in portfolio

Overall Creativity

  • Contrasting perspectives
  • Variety of styles
  • Unique interpretations
  • Unique use of media


all works of art in portfolio are creative with unique perspectives


2 works of art in body of 7/8 pieces need to be more creative


3 works of art in body of 7/8 pieces need to be more creative


half of the portfolio needs creative improvements


majority of portfolio needs creative improvements

Overall Technical Merit

  • Consistent control
  • Values follow contours
  • Wide range of values
  • Color blending
  • Surface detailing


technical merit reflects consistent advanced outcomes in all works of art


technical merit reflects above average outcomes with improvements needed in one area


technical merit is good but improvements needed in 2 areas


technical merit is weak needing improvement in 3 or 4 areas


technical merit is very weak throughout portfolio

NOTE: total points are to be multiplied times 2

Sketchbook (10 Points)

Variety of subjects


a wide variety of subjects reflected along with contrasting points of view


minimal repetition of subjects but could use more variety of viewpoints


more than one subject repeated, same points of view


too many of the same subject with minimal variety


only one subject throughout sketchbook

Variety of Media/processes with evidence of experimentation of techniques


a wide variety of media and processes along with in depth experimentation


variety of media but lacking variety of techniques


more variety needed in media along with variety of techniques


minimal variety of media and techniques


Work is always done in the same media and technique

Audition Observation Drawing (20 points)

Accuracy of drawn proportions


incredibly well drawn with little to no improvements needed, advanced skills


well drawn overall but a few proportions could be improved upon, strong skills


captures a likeness of the objects but several forms are out of proportion, average skills


significant improvements needed in the drawing of the forms and their proportions, skills need improving


likeness of images hard to assess due to inaccurate proportions throughout, poor skills

Engaging use of space

  • Figure/ground
  • Composition
  • Movement
  • Scale
  • Use of Picture Plane


drawing reflects advanced outcomes in all areas with sophisticated applications in all areas


drawing reflects a strong understanding of these areas but some areas need improving


drawing reflects needed improvements in 2 areas


drawing reflects needed improvements in several areas


drawing does not reflect an understanding of these areas, significant improvements needed

Shading of values

  • Follows contours
  • Smooth transitions light to dark
  • Cast Shadows


advanced outcomes in all areas of shading


strong but one area of shading needs improved upon


good but 2 areas need to be improved upon


needed improvements in most areas


little to no evidence


  • Arrangement of objects
  • Emphasized textures
  • Unique Marks


superior evidence in all criteria


strong evidence in 2 of 3 criteria


good evidence in 1 criteria


little evidence


no evidence

Audition Interview (5 points)

Students will be awarded points on the following items

  • Articulation of art vocabulary related to specific works of art in student portfolio as described in slide presentation (1 point)
  • Ability to explain artist intent/personal meaning in their works of art (1 point)
  • One statement for each of the 7 required works of art in the Portfolio Section of the slide presentation (2 points)
  • Organization of slide presentation (1 point)

Letter of Intent (5 points)

Students will be awarded points on how many of the five items listed below are addressed in their letter of intent

  • Articulation of desire to be accepted into the program
  • Discussion of what student hopes to gain in training from the program, artistic growth
  • What student plans on contributing to the program, active role in program
  • Spelling/grammar
  • Sentence/paragraph structure