New Orleans Center for Creative Arts | Riverfront (NOCCA)

Excellence in Arts Programs for Youth Honorees

Each year, in cooperation with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Americans for the Arts recognizes elected officials, artists, or arts organizations who have exhibited outstanding leadership in the advancement of the arts at the national, state, and local levels. The recipient of the 2006 National Award for Excellence in Arts Programs for Youth is the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts|Riverfront (NOCCA).

New Orleans Center for Creative Arts | Riverfront (NOCCA | Riverfront) is Louisiana’s premier arts training center for high school students. Like many other schools in New Orleans, NOCCA suffered damage as a result of Katrina, but reopened for class in January 2006. With about 850 students attending annually, NOCCA provides pre-professional instruction in creative writing, dance, classical instrumental, jazz instrumental, classical vocal, media arts, acting, musical theater, theater design, and visual arts. Since becoming a state agency in July 2000, NOCCA | Riverfront is tuition-free to all Louisiana students who successfully audition. Students from more than 150 public, private, and parochial schools attend NOCCA on a half-day basis, after school, on Saturdays, and/or during the summer. As a Louisiana treasure that marked its 30th anniversary during the 2003–2004 school year, NOCCA made it possible for students to realize success in all arts fields. Many well-known and highly successful artists are NOCCA alumni. Some notable alumni include: Harry Connick, Jr., musician and actor; Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo, and Jason Marsalis, musicians; Wanda Boudreaux, visual artist; Jeanne-Michelé Charbonnet, opera singer; Nicole Cooley, novelist and poet; Donald Harrison, jazz musician; Darren Bagert, Broadway producer; Wendell Pierce, actor; and Rosalyn Sanders, dancer.

Approximately 90 percent of NOCCA graduates continue their studies at universities and conservatories across the country. Recent graduates have enrolled in: the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Art Institute of Los Angeles, Art Institute of Chicago, Cleveland Institute of Music, Juilliard, Berklee Conservatory, Fordham, LSU, Tulane, Loyola, Yale, The Cooper Union, Manhattan School of Music, Johns Hopkins, and many others. Students regularly win national awards in the Arts Recognition and Talent Search and National Merit Scholarship programs.