Audition Information


 Welcome to the audition information page for Denver School of the Arts’ Visual Arts Department.  Please review all information listed below carefully and then, if you have specific questions, e-mail  
 The information contained here is for the VA department. Please go to the main Admissions page on the DSA website to review all information and dates for complete admissions process:

Audition for the 2017-2018 is a  four step process

Step 1 – the online audition application

The online application will open on October 10, 2016 and close at NOON on November 18, 2016.  At any point during this online audition application window, you must apply online.

Note – Incoming 7th graders will audition for the waitlist only

Step 2 – The Mandatory Pre-audition Meeting

Our Pre-audition Meeting is at 6:00 pm on Wednesday, November 30 in the Schomp Theater at DSA. The meeting is mandatory for all applicants and you must have applied on line before this meeting.  A parent or an adult parent designee for the applicant must be in attendance at the pre-audition meeting in order to move forward in the audition process.  We allow another adult to stand in the place of the parent in case of emergencies/vacations/work/etc.  Someone must be at this meeting to represent the student to receive an audition number and appointment at the end of the meeting.  The student applicant does not HAVE to attend the meeting but is highly encouraged to do so.  We strive to make the process fair to all who choose to apply so unfortunately we do not provide coaching or additional preparation for applicants.

Step 3 – The District School of Choice Form

You must fill out the DPS School of Choice Form. This information and form can be found on the admissions page:

DSA’s registrar, Jackie Rios, will be here during all audition dates.  If you need help with the DPS Choice process and/or have questions about the enrollment side of the process, please stop by the main office and speak with Jackie.  She will help you through the process.

Step 4 – The Audition

You will receive an audition number, date, and time at our Pre-audition Meeting on November 30th.  The audition date and time is pre-selected for you and you must be able to come at the prescribed time.  Applicants will only be assigned one audition day.    Call back details for interview and portfolio review will be explained at the mandatory Pre-Audition Meeting. The dates are not negotiable.  Please keep these dates/times open on your calendar for both the audition and interview days–January 7 and 14, 2017.

The Visual Arts Department will hold auditions by grade level, all day Saturday, January 7, 2017.

If your student needs accommodations for the audition, as written in a 504 or IEP, please provide a copy of the 504 or IEP to Assistant Principal Aspen Miles ONE WEEK before your student’s audition date.

Call backs for audition finalists will be posted on our website TuesdayJanuary 10th with an appointment time for your interview.   Audition numbers are posted next to initials only.  Your initials and number must match.  If your student is listed as a callback, they must return for an interview and portfolio review on Saturday, January 14th at their appointed time.  If you are not listed as a call back you are “denied” and will receive no further communication from us.

Teacher Recommendation Forms (2 Required by January 5, 2017) /click here

  • Forms must be mailed directly to the DSA VA Department by your teachers
  • Provide your teacher with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to insure timely delivery.
  • Your letters must be received by the due date, so give teachers plenty of notice — keep checking to be sure they fill out and send the form to us.
  • Be sure to ask a teacher who knows you well and can speak to your interest/ability in art as well as your work ethic.  Be sure the teacher agrees to write the recommendation.  You may need to remind them.

Drawing Audition Format  One Still Life Drawing and One Creativity Exercise to be completed in a  one hour audition session, you will draw in groups of approximately 23 students.

  • Bring Your Resume to the Audition with your full contact information
  • DO NOT bring your portfolio
  • all art materials will be provided
  • arrive 10 minutes early to check in.   Late students do not get extra drawing time.

Typed Resume (Due at Audition Check in)

  • Include name, age, address, phone numbers, parent e-mail, schools attended, extra curricular activities, classes and workshops attended, awards, exhibitions and special interests/talents.  Resumes are in outline form and must not exceed one page.    We will keep one copy of the resume, so save a copy for yourself
  • Do not include certificates, grades or other papers.  We do not require an essay.
  • audition drawings will be scored for call back interviews. and those numbers will be posted on the VA web page and the school office at 12:00 noon,  Tuesday, January 10 with an interview appointment time.

Callbacks are posted on the DSA Visual Arts web page with your initials, audition number, and an appointment time for an interview at 12:00 noon, Tuesday, January 10, 2017. Many students have the same initials so your initials and audition number must match.   Please do not call the office or VA classroom if your number does not match the initials.

Call Backs for Interview and Portfolio Review, 

  • Approximately 50% of all applicants  (highest scores) will be “called back” with an assigned interview appointment time.
  • Interviews are conducted without parents by a panel of 3 – 5 teachers, artists, and students for 10 – 15 minutes.  Plan to arrive a few minutes before your appointment time.
  • Be prepared to show your portfolio and talk informally about your work and your interest in art.


Portfolio” refers to a body of work, not the container it is presented in.  Cardboard is a good way to support and hold your work.  Do not wrap individual artworks to be shown as unwrapping takes time from your interview.

  • You may show photographs for large pieces or 3D work
  • Bring 8- 10 examples of your best work created in the last 2 years.  Any media is acceptable, show your greatest strengths and passion for making art.
  • Show evidence of your thoughts, ideas, creativity, invention, and a few examples of observational skill.  Observation is from life, not photographs.
  • Applicants to the high school program must show evidence of skill and experience equal to our current students at that grade level.  Include a variety of media if applying to high school.
  • You will take your portfolio home at the end of the interview.
  • Quality of work is more important than diversity
  • If you keep a sketchbook or journal, it can be counted as one of your portfolio pieces, but please do not make a sketchbook specifically for this interview.

All artwork in the portfolio must be original and not derivative of existing comics, characters, or photographs.  Internet images and photographs taken by others may be used as reference but should never be directly copied for portfolio submission. Drawing from photographs is not “observational” drawing.

Notification of Final Acceptance

  • An e-mail regarding acceptance status will be sent out January 24th from DSA Administration
  • High scoring applicants who are not accepted may be wait listed and notified if additional slots become available.  Please let us know if you do not want to be considered in the future.
  • DPS will mail out school assignments from the choice office by mid- March.
  • Additional spaces can open up in May, or even in August, after registration
  • We do not release audition scores. We will keep audition drawings of students placed on the wait list until August 31, 2017.  If you are not accepted and want  your audition drawings, please e-mail us after March 1, 2017, and we will arrange for pickup in the DSA office.
  • Do to the large number of students who audition, we can not provide individual feedback on audition results.

Visual Arts Department Audition Scoring Rubric  (50 points)

_____            Resume (Due at Audition) – 2 points

Neatly typed, Clear primary contact information for call back

Name, education, special activities/interests or awards present

_____ 2 Letters of Recommendation — 3 points

Received by January 5th 2017, no late letters will be considered in your score

Required information addressed, appropriate person selected for letter

_____            Creativity Assignment – 15 points

original work not derivative

Imagination, creativity, self-expression, humor

personal voice/style

Variety of art elements and design used: form, shape, line, texture, value, size variation

_____Still Life Drawing – 15 points

Name, date and next year’s grade on back, lower right

At least 3 objects included as observed from still life

Use of the entire page, thought given to whole design of page

Ability to record shapes and sizes accurately

Variety in texture, line quality, shading

Ability to focus on drawing for full session

Strong individual style or technique

_____ Portfolio – 10 points

8 – 10 pieces including some observational work

Original work, no copies of photographs or comic characters

Skill in drawing or handling of selected media

Personal voice, evidence of individuality, creativity

work goes beyond simple class assignments

High School Applicants:  Evidence of advanced skills and knowledge equal to DSA VA grade level.  Strong evidence of personal voice, passion and interests

_____ Interview – 5 points

Student communicates interest and passion for art

Student communicates desire and interest to be at DSA

Student is able to speak clearly about the works presented in their portfolio

Positive attitude, student communicates work ethic and determination


TOTAL         _____ /50