In 1973, a group of artists, educators, and community leaders joined forces to launch a new kind of high school, one focused exclusively on the arts. The group’s vision became a reality when the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts opened its doors.

Forty years later as alumni like Wynton Marsalis, Gary Solomon Jr., Poppy Tooker, Terence Blanchard and Wendell Pierce earn accolades in the arts, in business, and other fields, NOCCA has become recognized as a powerful cultural and economic engine.

There will be the opportunity to see the next generation at NOCCA as the 40th Anniversary Student Performance Series continues with “SE-PA-RATE,” Oct. 16-18, 7 p.m. in the Nims Black Box Theatre, NOCCA, 2800 Chartres St. NOCCA drama students offer contemporary reflection on race and personal equity. Tickets are $10 online at

The series continues with:

  • Vocal Music Opera Scenes, 7 p.m. Oct. 24-25 in the Nims Black Box Theatre. Tickets are $10 online at
  • The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, 7 p.m. Nov. 6-8, 13-15 and 20-21 at Mid-City Theatre, 3540 Toulouse St. . Tickets are $20 online at
  • Winter Dance Concert,7 p.m., Dec. 11-13, 7 p.m., Lupin Hall, NOCCA, 2800 Chartres St. . Tickets are $10 online at

NOCCA, Louisiana’s arts conservatory for high school students, offers intensive instruction in creative writing, dance, media arts, drama, musical theatre, theatre design, classical instrumental music, jazz, vocal music, visual arts and academics tuition-free to students from across Louisiana.