Academic Studio

For forty years, the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), Louisiana's arts conservatory for high school students, has been on the pioneering edge of education innovation - inspiring leaders for the cultural and creative economies of Louisiana, the nation and the world. In its second year as a full-day, diploma-granting college preparatory high school, NOCCA's Academic Studio applies the same principles of learning by doing to its 21st century academic program.

Bringing its success at preparing artists - graduates include Wynton Marsalis, Wendell Pierce, Harry Connick and many others - to the work of developing intellectuals, the Academic Studio uses the same master-apprentice approach that sits at the heart of NOCCA's arts training program.

The habits of mind and habits of work our aspiring artists and intellectuals develop in the Academic Studio and at NOCCA will make them 21st century artists with something important to say.

What is a normal day like in the Academic Studio?

In addition to focused academic learning in the morning and intensive three-hour arts-training in the afternoon, students have a two and one-half hour block in the afternoon for supported work and world language. During this time, students work with faculty, individually or on group projects in order to expand upon that which is not understood, move to the next level, or dive more deeply into subjects that interest them.

What is the instruction like?

Instruction begins with hands-on exploration. Classes revolve around small-group learning led by educators whose passion for their given subject matches their students' passion for art. Faculty place the highest value on students' ability to ask good questions, to reflect on what is important, and to develop critical thinking, reading and writing skills. In essence, each student has not only an arts mentor, but also an academic mentor, who guides the student's learning experience.