New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, or NOCCA, is the public performing and visual arts high school for Louisiana. Opened in 1973 as a professional arts training center for secondary school-age children. Located in New Orleans, it provides intensive instruction in culinary arts, creative writing, dance, media arts, music (classical, jazz, vocal), theatre arts (drama, musical theatre, theatre design), and visual arts while demanding simultaneous academic excellence.
NOCCA was founded by a diverse coalition of artists, educators, business leaders, and community activists who saw the need for an institution devoted to the regionâs burgeoning young talent. The program is tuition-free to all Louisiana students who meet audition requirements. Students from over 100 public, private, parochial and home schools attend in the afternoon or late-day as well as Academic Studio students, who attend NOCCA for the full day.
In 2000, NOCCA moved to a newly-built campus in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood. Prior to that, NOCCA was housed for many years in an old elementary school building on Perrier Street, in Uptown New Orleans.
NOCCAâs track record over the past 40 years speaks for itself: every year, a remarkable 95-98% of NOCCA graduates go on to college and conservatory programs across the country. Furthermore, approximately 80% of NOCCA students receive scholarships to pursue such higher education. The key to NOCCAâs success is the ethic of discipline and responsibility that it instills in students, which prepares them for productive adult lives.
Academic Studio students, accepted by a successful arts audition, learn through problem-solving and project-based learning. Students graduate from NOCCA receiving a TOPS University Diploma.
Many world-class artists have graduated from NOCCA, including Harry Connick, Jr., Terence Blanchard, Nicholas Payton, the Marsalis brothers, Trombone Shorty, Jonathan Batiste, Gustave Blache III, Anthony Mackie, Wendell Pierce, Nicole Cooley, Poppy Tooker, Gary Solomon, Jr., Terrance Osborne, Mary Catherine Garrison, Wanda Boudreaux, Bryan Hymel, and DJ Hollygrove.
NOCCA's mission and curriculum
NOCCA Student Spotlight | Dance - Lean more about a dance program from one of our students.
NOCCA provides professional arts training, coaching and performance opportunities for high school level students who aspire to be creative artists. Recognizing the enrichment of society through the arts, NOCCA will continue development and implementation of a program of intensive instruction within the learning environment of an arts conservatory. At the center of the instruction program is the philosophy of artist/teacher as mentor. As practicing professionals in their fields, faculty members remain engaged in such activity at levels appropriate to the stage of their professional careers and in ways that benefit the quality of instruction at NOCCA.
NOCCA students receive pre-professional arts training in one of eleven different arts disciplines, and additionally may participate in a full-day academic program, the Academic Studio.
- Classical Instrumental Music: Intensive individual and chamber music performance training is coupled with theory, ear training, music history and composition, along with personalized one-on-one training. Bert Braud was the original classical music head (from which Wynton Marsalis was an early graduate); one of the original classical graduates was award-winning pianist and composer Moses Hogan (now deceased).
- Creative Writing: In classes concentrating on aesthetic quality and technique, students study novels, short stories, poetry, creative nonfiction, and films in a variety of genres. Students discuss and analyze texts, then apply that knowledge to their own writing. Students write almost every day and are given exercises that encourage work that is both imaginative and technically skilled. Students study works in depth, and produce a literary magazine each year called Umbra.
- Culinary Arts: NOCCAâs newest arts discipline, offers students a highly aggressive program in core skills; history; regional, national and international cuisine; nutrition; kitchen management; marketing; gardening; and personal aesthetics.
- Dance: Students study dance history and undergo intensive group and individual training in ballet, modern, jazz and tap dance in preparation for careers in dance performance and choreography.
- Drama: Students master vocal control (projection, pronunciation, resonance, pitch, tone, inflection, dialect), movement, acting and improvisation as well as study in theatre history, literature, criticism, stagecraft and technical production.
- Jazz: Students receive intensive training in traditional, swing, bebop, model and free jazz idioms. They train on at least two instruments. Core music curriculum requirements also include theory, ear-training, style history and piano. The jazz program was recently headed by noted New Orleans clarinetist Alvin Batiste before his death; the original head of the jazz department was renowned pianist Ellis Marsalis, Jr. (father of the musicians Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, and Jason Marsalis).
- Media Arts: The curriculum encompasses cinematography; directing; editing; lighting; computer and stop motion animation; signal processing; special effects; streaming media; story boarding; script-writing; film history and theory; digital mixing; MIDI; sound effects; audio engineering and record production; and multi-track recording. Students train on industry-standard software programs in video and audio production.
- Musical Theatre: Musical Theatre combines technique in three disciplines: vocal music, acting and dance. The curriculum also covers music theory and musical theatre history.
- Theatre Design: The curriculum includes lighting, sound, costume, and scenic design. Each requires training in history and computer assisted design software. Production roles, rendering, drafting, model making, and the creation of design concepts through script analysis are all mastered in the course of staging eight to ten productions annually.
- Visual Arts: Students are introduced to and trained in a range of media, including drawing, painting, color theory, printmaking, ceramics, film and digital photography, computer graphics, web design, woodworking, metalworking, sculpture, bronze casting, bookmaking, encaustic, digital animation and art history.
- Vocal Music: Vocal students master proper vocal technique; an extensive repertoire in Italian, French, German, Latin, Spanish and English; as well as theory, ear-training, style history and piano. The classical vocal program centers on operatic-style singing.
Launched in the fall of 2011, NOCCA's innovative Academic Studio is a full-day, diploma-granting attendance option. Using the same master-apprentice teaching model that has defined NOCCAâs highly successful arts-training environment, the Academic Studio offers students an innovative and interconnected approach to learning in math, science and the humanities. The curriculum is designed to be highly integrated: math and science are taught together, humanities are taught together, and each academic area is connected to arts training. The Academic Studio is grounded in the same master-apprentice approach that sits at the heart of NOCCAâs arts training program. In addition to their academic faculty, students have the opportunity to learn from guest lecturers and the team of scholars from around the world who have helped develop the new curriculum structure. To enroll in the Academic Studio, prospective students must successfully complete an arts audition and be accepted into a Level I program in one of NOCCAâs eleven arts disciplines.
NOCCA acceptance is by audition only. Click the link for more informationÂ : https://apply.nocca.com/apply/
Over 95% of NOCCA graduates are accepted into universities and conservatories each year. NOCCA alumni have studied at Ball State University, Berklee College of Music, Boston Conservatory, California College of the Arts, The Cooper Union, Emerson College, Florida State University, Full Sail University, The Juilliard School, Loyola University, Louisiana State University, Parson School of Design, Purchase College State University of New York, Southern Methodist University, Tulane University, University of Louisiana Lafayette, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of New Orleans and Xavier University of Louisiana.
- Musician Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews
- Broadway producer Darren Bagert
- Musician Jonathan Batiste
- Musician Terence Blanchard
- Musician and actor Harry Connick, Jr.
- Novelist and poet Nicole Cooley
- Writer Lolis Eric Elie
- Actress Felicia Finley
- Actress Mary Catherine Garrison
- Musician Donald Harrison
- Actress JoNell Kennedy
- Actress Loren Kinsella
- Actor Anthony Mackie
- Musicians Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo, and Jason Marsalis
- Conductor Paul Mauffray
- Visual Artist Terrance Osborne
- Musician Nicholas Payton
- Actor Wendell Pierce
The NOCCA Institute is NOCCA's community support and advocacy arm, providing supplemental funding for NOCCA students and advocacy for NOCCAâs world-class program. With the support of corporations, foundations, and individuals across Louisiana and the globe, the Institute has helped turn NOCCA into a flagship professional arts training facility.
- NOCCA Official website
- The NOCCA Institute Official website