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New Orleans Center for Creative Arts


The NOCCA Institute, formerly known as Friends of NOCCA, provides supplemental funding for NOCCA|Riverfront students and advocacy for NOCCA|Riverfront's world-class program. With the support of corporations, foundations, and individuals across Louisiana and the globe, the Institute has helped turn NOCCA|Riverfront from a fuzzy idea into a flagship pre-professional arts training facility. Here are a few of the Institute's more notable endeavors:

* The Institute's Term-Time Financial Aid Program
offers assistance to disadvantaged students for the equipment, supplies, and private lessons they need to keep pace with NOCCA|Riverfront's pre-professional curriculum. Shoes for young dancers cost about $55, and a student may go through six pair in a year. Musicians must take care of their instruments and are typically required to take extracurricular lessons. Without Term-Time aid, such expenses--combined with transportation and other costs of attending NOCCA|Riverfront--would be unmanageable for families on public support or a fixed income.

* The NOCCA|Riverfront Summer Term Financial Aid Program
provides funds to students from across the state meet the expenses of studying at NOCCA|Riverfront during the summer. Although there is no tuition, there are the costs of room and board to consider, as well as supply fees. Summer Session awards help children from Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, Shreveport, Thibodeaux, and beyond take advantage of this top-notch arts-training program.

* The Institute's Summer Study Financial Aid Program
allows students to take part in some of the best summer programs in the country, including The Juilliard School, the Art Institute of Chicago, and North Carolina School of the Arts. Expenses for these programs can range anywhere from $500 to $5,000 per child. It costs $3,000, for example, for rent, meals, subway tokens, and supplies for a dance student in New York for eight weeks, and that figure does not include the $915 tuition at Alvin Ailey or airfare. Many families can afford only a portion of these costs. Summer financial aid makes up the difference.

* The Institute's Artists-in-Residence Program sponsors over 150 master classes and workshops taught by regionally and nationally acclaimed artists-artists like dancer Gregory Hines, playwright Edward Albee, authors Sheila Bosworth and Andrei Codrescu, and actor Wendell Pierce, to name only a few of the talents hosted over the past few years. With their years of professional experience, these artists pass on priceless instruction and offer NOCCA|Riverfront students a link to the international community of poets, painters, pianists to which they will soon belong.

* NOCCA|Riverfront's new home
The Institute lobbied the State of Louisiana for $18 million in construction funds and raised $5 million itself in private donations to equip the school. The 136,000-square-foot facility provides the rehearsal studios, performance spaces, and state-of-the-art technology students need to become arts leaders of the 21st century. Since January of 2000, this extraordinary facility has allowed NOCCA|Riverfront to serve nearly three times as many students as it enrolled in its previous home.

The theatre arts program includes drama, musical theatre and theatre design. Drama is taught by Ray Vrazel, the movement instructor; Janet Shea, the vocal instructor; and J. Patrick McNamara, the theatre history and literature instructor. Musical theatre is headed by Blake Coheley, the dance instructor; and Jefferson Turner, the vocal instructor. Theatre design is taught by Dan Zimmer, the design instructor. He is joined by Davis Barron, design instructor; and Julie Winn, the costume design instructor.

The music program includes classical, jazz and vocal. The classical music program is headed by classical piano teacher Sakiko Ohashi. The jazz program, headed by noted New Orleans clarinetist Alvin Batiste, is supported by teachers/musicians Michael Pellera and Michael Rihner, among others. The classical vocal program centers on operatic-style singing, and is headed by Phyllis Treigle. Classical vocal teachers include Kristen Marchiafava and Gloria Cuadradro.

The creative writing program includes study in poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, and a variety of other works. Students study poetry and literature in depth, and produce a literary magazine each year,Umbra. The department is headed by Anne Gisleson. Andy Young and Lara Naughton also teach.

NOCCA|Riverfront has a prominent position in art schools throughout the United States, as well as around the world. Every year, over 90 percent of those graduating from NOCCA|Riverfront move on to colleges, many of the students continuing their education in the arts. Several world-class artists have graduated from NOCCA. Some famous alumni include Harry Connick Jr., and the Marsalis brothers.

Admission to NOCCA is by audition only. Although it is recommended that the students maintain a decent GPA upon auditioning, skill and level of artistry present the largest portion of acceptance. Most of the students study half-time at a conventional academic secondary school in New Orleans or in the surrounding parishes, and train the rest of the time in one of the programs offered by NOCCA|Riverfront.

NOCCA was founded in 1973. The school was housed for many years in an old elementary school building located in Uptown New Orleans. That facility lacked performance space. In 2000, the school moved to a newly-built campus located in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood, and it was then that they began using the name NOCCA|Riverfront.

Brief History of NOCCA | Riverfront

The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts|Riverfront (NOCCA|Riverfront) is a regional, pre-professional arts training center that offers secondary school-age children intensive instruction in dance, media arts, music (classical, jazz, vocal), theatre arts (drama, musical theatre, theatre design) , visual arts, and creative writing, while demanding simultaneous excellence. NOCCA was founded in 1973 by a diverse coalition of artists, educators, business leaders, and community activists who saw the need for an institution devoted to our region's burgeoning young talent. Today, Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Harry Connick, Jr., Terence Blanchard, Nicholas Payton, Jeanne-Michele Charbonnet, Wendell Pierce, and Saints former cornerback Ashley Ambrose are only a few NOCCA|Riverfront graduates who can attest to the extraordinary educational opportunity the Center represents to the children of Louisiana.

NOCCA|Riverfront's track record over the past quarter-century speaks for itself: every year a remarkable 95 - 98% of NOCCA|Riverfront graduates go on to college and conservatory programs across the country -- compared to only 56% of local non-NOCCA|Riverfront graduates. Furthermore, approximately 80% of NOCCA|Riverfront students receive scholarships to pursue such higher education. The key to NOCCA|Riverfront's success is the ethic of discipline and responsibility it instills in students, which prepares them for productive adult lives whether or not they choose to pursue arts careers.

Admission to NOCCA|Riverfront is by audition only, held four times each year. From around the region, children come with hopes of getting in. Thanks to the addition of after-school, weekend, and summer courses, NOCCA|Riverfront has served students from 24 Louisiana parishes. Because admission criteria are based solely on ability, NOCCA|Riverfront's student body cuts across boundaries of race, sex, and socio-economic background.

Created and maintained by the Orleans Parish School Board for 27 years, NOCCA|Riverfront became a state agency in July 2000. The program is tuition-free to all Louisiana students who meet audition requirements. Currently, students from over 100 public, private and parochial schools attend in the afternoon, late-day, on Saturdays or during the summer session.

Is NOCCA The Place for You?

The Basics

NOCCA|Riverfront's fine arts curriculum is designed to prepare students to follow a path toward professional careers involving any of NOCCA|Riverfront's ten arts disciplines: creative writing, dance, media arts, music (classical, jazz, vocal), theatre (drama, musical theatre, theatre design), and visual arts. These programs of study are professionally oriented, highly structured, and academically rigorous. Coursework at NOCCA|Riverfront counts toward high school graduation.

Commitment to serious study is tested at NOCCA|Riverfront so that students can experience now what will be expected of them in professional arts careers. Realistic career preparation is the goal. College provides the next step for most students upon graduation. A founding member of the International Network of Performing & Visual Arts Schools, NOCCA|Riverfront is considered a model of professional arts training at the high school level and a leading example of the arts conservatory instructional center.


Faculty members are practicing professionals in their arts fields. In line with the historic master-apprentice tradition, this professionally active faculty of "artist/teachers" is the foundation of NOCCA|Riverfront's intensive curriculum. Arts career counseling is an ongoing part of the instructional process, and NOCCA|Riverfront's Visiting Artists program ensures students' contact with a wide range of professional artists.


Primarily high school level, students are encouraged to spend a minimum of three years at NOCCA|Riverfront to take advantage of the full three-level curriculum. Although most regular-term students attend local public schools, student enrollment annually represents roughly 100 public, private, and parochial schools spanning the many parishes of Greater New Orleans. During the summer of 2001, students from an additional 30 schools from across Louisiana studied at NOCCA|Riverfront. NOCCA|Riverfront attracts a student body that reflects the multicultural quality of our area.

Course Credit

High School students receive two or three units of credit each year for their NOCCA|Riverfront arts coursework. Grades are sent to regular schools each quarter for inclusion in report cards and academic transcripts. NOCCA|Riverfront courses are accredited through the State Department of Education, and NOCCA|Riverfront's arts curriculum courses carry honors credit.

School name:New Orleans Center for Creative Arts
Address:2800 Chartres
Zip & city:LA 70117 Louisiana
Phone:(800) 201-4836

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New Orleans Center for Creative Arts Art School Location

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