Visual Arts Audition Requirements


The Visual Arts Department audition consists of a portfolio review, a discussion of student artwork, and a departmental interview. Applicants should be prepared to discuss their work in detail and their previous experience with the visual arts, i.e. mediums interests, classes taken, etc.

The portfolio includes the required pieces listed below and other examples of the applicant’s artwork, including work done independently on your own to work completed in formal arts classes. Your work is evaluated on technical skill, use of composition, and the degree of difficulty of the individual works. Applicants should also present their sketchbook/s. In addition to their portfolio review, applicants must respond in writing to the artwork analysis questions listed below.

Portfolio Requirements:

  • Self-portrait (from direct observation)

  • What you see while looking out your window

  • A section of your room, including your bed

  • A pair of shoes

  • Something from your imagination

  • In addition to the above requirements, it is important that applicants bring other examples of their work including artwork from art classes, work that has been completed independently, and sketch books.

Artwork Analysis: 

Answer the following five questions by selecting one of the approved artworks listed below. If possible, go see the work in person at The Art Institute of Chicago. You can also answer the following questions from looking at the piece online at Your response should be no more than one typed page. Please bring a printed copy to your audition.


  1. Describe the composition of the piece including the overall organization of elements? 

  2. Is there an illusion of space or movement in the composition? How is color being used? 

  3. How does the form of the artwork mirror the content (meaning) of the work? 

  4. Why did you select this work? What do you find interesting?

  5. What questions do you have about this artwork? 

Approved Artworks:

Artist: Edward Hopper
Artwork title: Nighthawks, 1942 

Artist: Willem de Kooning
Artwork title: Excavation, 1950 

Artist: Jasper Johns
Artwork title: Corpse and Mirror II, 1974-75 

Artist: Agnes Martin
Artwork title: Untitled #12, 1977 

Artist: Glenn Ligon
Artwork title: Stranger in the Village #13, 1998 

Artist: Kiki Smith
Artwork title: Blood Pool, 1992

Printable Audition Requirements