Northwestern State, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts sign groundbreaking agreement

Northwestern State University and New Orleans Center for Creative Arts formalized a memorandum of understanding that will articulate core credits between the institutions enabling NOCCA graduates to matriculate to NSU with up to a year’s worth of college credit. The agreement will be the first of its kind for both institutions.

Administrators from NSU and NOCCA signed the agreement Wednesday in the Ellis Marsalis Jazz Studio on NOCCA’s campus.

Under the agreement NOCCA students can receive college credit for several different arts courses, as well as credit for college history and English courses.

The agreement is modeled after a similar agreement NSU developed with the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts and recognizes the advanced arts training that NOCCA, as Louisiana’s high school arts conservatory, provides to students in the state. Benefitting from the agreement will be students of classical voice, classical instrumental, jazz, visual arts, theatre design, musical theatre, drama and dance. The agreement also recognizes the high quality of the integrated humanities courses in its innovative Academic Studio, NOCCA’s degree-granting high school curriculum where students consistently score among the highest achieving schools in the state.

“NSU and NOCCA have long been partners in providing Louisiana students quality arts education,” said Scott Burrell, Director of the Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alie E. Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts and Professor of Theatre. “Twelve years ago, NOCCA’s Director of Communications and Campus Activities Brian Hammel invited NSU to their college fair. Since then, NSU CAPA faculty and recruiters have been provided opportunities to recruit the top high school creative and performing artists in the region. This articulation agreement will go a long way in strengthening the relationship and will allow both institutions continuing excellence. The School of Creative and Performing Arts thanks the administration of NOCCA and NSU for their support.”

NOCCA is a regional, pre-professional arts training center that offers students intensive instruction in culinary arts, dance, media arts: filmmaking & audio production, music (classical, jazz, vocal), theatre arts (drama, musical theatre, theatre design), visual arts, and creative writing, while demanding simultaneous academic 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. Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Harry Connick, Jr., Terence Blanchard, Jeanne-Michele Charbonnet, Wendell Pierce, Anthony Mackie, Mary Catherine Garrison and Gary Solomon Jr. are only a few NOCCA graduates who can attest to the extraordinary educational opportunity the Center represents to the children of Louisiana.

Admission to NOCCA’s tuition-free programs is by audition only. The annual application season takes place each fall for the following school year. Auditions take place each spring from applications received within the posted application deadline. Students may apply for full-day, mid-day or afterschool instructional opportunities.

The School of Creative and Performing Arts at Northwestern State University includes the Departments of Fine and Graphic Arts, Music, New Media, Journalism, and Communication and Theatre and Dance.

The Department of Fine and Graphic Arts contributes to the culture of Northwestern and Natchitoches by presenting a variety of art exhibits throughout the year featuring the work of students, faculty, alumni and noted artists. Work by students, faculty and alumni of the program are featured in museums and collections throughout the country.

Students pursuing a degree in Communication through the New Media, Journalism, and Communication polish speaking, writing and multimedia skills through experiences in and out of the classroom. Alumni from the program work for cable television networks and in the top television markets in the country. They also hold positions in radio, public relations, graphic design and a variety of related fields.

The numerous performing ensembles in the Department of Music include bands, choirs and orchestras and consist of both music majors and students majoring in other fields of study. Concerts, recitals, touring groups, guest artists and ensembles all contribute to an exciting and vibrant cultural life on campus and throughout northwest Louisiana. The Spirit of Northwestern Marching Band is the state’s largest and his marched in Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the New Year’s Parade in London. The NSU Chamber Choir placed second in the Laurea Mundi Budapest Choral Competition earlier this year. The Chamber Choir has been selected to perform at the National Collegiate Choral Organization Conference to be held Nov. 7-9 at the University of Maryland. The NSU Wind Symphony performed at the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles conference in Buñol, Spain this summer.

The Department of Theatre and Dance prepares students to work as professional actors and dancers, educators, designers and other important roles behind the scenes. Six NSU Theatre alumni are currently or have recently performed on Broadway and a number of alumni are part of national touring companies or regional or local theatre companies. Current students are highly sought after for work in summer stock companies throughout the country. Alumnus James Palmer recently won the prestigious $50,000 Louisiana Film Prize.

All areas of the School of Creative and Performing Arts collaborate to present the annual Christmas Gala, which is the unofficial start of the Christmas season in Natchitoches and performs before sold-out audiences.

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Pictured above: New Orleans Center for Creative Arts President/CEO Kyle Wedberg, left, and Northwestern State President Chris Maggio sign a memorandum of understanding that will articulate core credits between the institutions enabling NOCCA graduates to matriculate to NSU with up to a year’s worth of college credit.