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Visual Arts

What we are looking for

Ellington is looking for students with potential who demonstrate their passion for the visual arts. Successful students show strong observational skills and hand-eye coordination.

What to bring/how to prepare

Students must bring the following to their audition:

  • A portfolio of at least five (5) or more works of art – on white drawing paper, 8-1/2 x 11-inch paper or larger – with at least one each in the following categories:
    • A self-portrait, realistic to the best of the student’s ability,
    • A drawing of a bicycle,
    • A drawing of an open closet in their home (use color: pencils, makers or watercolors),
    • A drawing of a landmark in the city,
    • Free choice of anything of your own creation.

The 5 portfolio items above are mandatory. If you have additional portfolio item and/or a sketch book, you are welcome to bring these in as well.

The audition process itself

All students auditioning in the Visual Arts will be required to produce a drawing from a still-life during the audition, write a short essay on-site about the form and content of a work of art presented in their portfolio, and discuss their portfolio during their interview with a Visual Arts faculty member.

Have a successful audition

  • Take time and care with your required sketches.
  • Be prepared to discuss your work.
  • Present yourself well – arrive on time, speak clearly and confidently.


  • All departments offer Audition Workshops in December and January to help students prepare for their official audition. Students who participate will be able to learn what to bring, review the audition procedures, learn how to build a portfolio, present their work with confidence and prepare their work for the audition. Visit for more information and how to sign up – workshops cost $10. This fee can be waived for special circumstances, please email if you would like to request one.
  • Auditions are the first week of February 2020 – immediately after the application deadline! Make sure to visit our website to review the audition schedule. Auditions are open call for all students who successfully apply via MySchoolDC. You must view your audition date and time based on your art department and the first letter of your last name.