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Nicholas Academic Centers Join with Orange County Performing Arts Center On Unique Summer Cultural Program.

The Henry T. Nicholas, III Foundation, Building on $3.8 Million in Gifts to the Performing Arts Center, Forges a Strategic Partnership Between the Two Organizations; Disadvantaged High School Students from Santa Ana Study Theater and Dance

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- Students from the Nicholas Academic Centers in downtown Santa Ana and on the campus of Valley High are spending the summer immersed in the performing arts as part of a unique enrichment program presented by the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

"The ability to create and be moved by the arts is a uniquely human gift," said Dr. Henry Nicholas, the Broadcom Corp. co-founder who has given $3.8 million to the Performing Arts Center and two years ago founded the Nicholas Academic Centers. "I wanted to build on our long-standing relationship with the Orange County Performing Arts Center by forging a strategic partnership with the Nicholas Academic Centers that will enrich the cultural lives of disadvantaged, inner-city students."

Twice-weekly classes in storytelling, contemporary and folk dance, choreography and creative expression are conducted by teaching artists from the Performing Arts Center's Arts Teach program. Also included in the innovative curriculum: Trips to see live performances at the Performing Arts Center that include educational sessions with the casts. The program is free to the students. For many of the students, these will be their first experiences with live theatrical performances.

The program aims to enrich the Nicholas Academic Centers' curriculum, to help improve the students' academic achievement and to encourage them to find new ways of expressing themselves through the arts. The collaboration with the Performing Arts Center is just part of the total summer enrichment program at the Nicholas Academic Centers, which will also include visits to the Ocean Institute in Dana Point and other hands-on experiences.

The Orange County Performing Arts Center's Arts Teach is an arts-in-education program that provides the wonder and excitement of live performance and hands-on activities. Professional artists in music, dance, theater and visual arts from around the globe specialize in working with students. This is the Performing Arts Center's first partnership with the Nicholas Academic Centers.

"The Nicholas Academic Centers meet a vital need in helping students expand their horizons and realize their full potential," said Terrence W. Dwyer, president of the Orange County Performing Arts Center. "As school budgets come under pressure, arts programs often feel the cuts first. Innovative partnerships like this one demonstrate the importance of keeping the arts part of a well-rounded education. This initiative establishes a sustainable model for utilizing the arts in creative ways to enhance academic performance and the social development of these young students."

The students are currently studying with Asha's Baba, an African storyteller who is one of the Performing Arts Center's long-time teaching artists. He is also a renowned folklorist and musician whose work with teenagers has been lauded by the California State Assembly. During his sessions, students are being asked to adapt an existing fable with experiences from their own lives. In addition to providing a cross-cultural experience, Baba said the class aims to prepare students for public speaking situations and boost their self-confidence.

Beginning the week of July 27, they students have been participating in a four-week course on theater, dance and music.

On Friday, July 17, students in the program traveled to the Orange County Performing Arts Center's Segerstrom Hall to see a live performance of the Broadway show "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." On Friday, August 21, they will attend a live performance of "Fiddler on the Roof." The cost of both performances is covered by the Nicholas Academic Centers.

About the Nicholas Academic Centers

The Nicholas Academic Centers are run by retired Judge Jack Mandel and funded by the Henry T. Nicholas, III Foundation. Located in downtown Santa Ana and on the campus of Valley High in Santa Ana, the Centers provide free tutoring and mentoring for students, as well as computers and a safe and comfortable place to study.

The Santa Ana Unified School District is located in the most densely populated area of Orange County. The student body has the largest percentage of English learners in the county and among the highest drop-out rates. This fall, the first group of Nicholas Academic Center graduates will begin college at many top schools - including UCLA, Denison University and Allegheny College.

"Motivated students in these urban areas face many cultural and environmental obstacles in seeking higher education," said Dr. Nicholas. "For many of them deciding whether to pursue higher education is a greatest crossroads of their lives, and for most they would be the first person in their family to go to college. The Centers were established to help them realize their dreams."

About the Henry T. Nicholas, III Foundation

The Henry T. Nicholas, III Foundation was established in 2006 with the goal of improving communities and individual lives through investment in Education, Youth Sports, Technology, Science, Medical Research, Victim's Rights and National Defense. The Foundation was created by Dr. Henry T. Nicholas, III, co-founder of Irvine, Calif.-based Broadcom Corporation. For more information on the Foundation visit

About the Orange County Performing Arts Center

The Orange County Performing Arts Center presents a wide variety of the most significant national and international productions of music, dance and theater to the people of Southern California. It is committed to supporting artistic excellence on all of its stages and offering unsurpassed experiences, engaging the entire community in new and exciting ways through the unique power of live performance and an array of inspiring programs.

As Orange County's largest non-profit arts organization, the Center owns and operates the 3,000-seat Segerstrom Hall and intimate 250-seat Founders Hall, which opened in 1986, and the 2,000-seat Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, which opened in 2006 and also houses the 500-seat Samueli Theater, and the Lawrence and Kristina Dodge Education Center's studio performance space and Boeing Education Lab. These state-of-the-art facilities are united by a community arts plaza.

The Center's Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall and community plaza, along with facilities of the adjacent Tony[R] Award-winning South Coast Repertory and a site designated as the new home of the Orange County Museum of Art, are located at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

The Orange County Performing Arts Center presents a broad range of programming each season for audiences of all ages from throughout Orange County, and beyond, including international ballet and dance, national tours of top Broadway shows, intimate performances of jazz and cabaret, contemporary artists, classical music performed by renowned chamber orchestras and ensembles, family-friendly programming, free performances open to the public from outdoor movie screenings to dancing on the plaza and many other special events.

It offers many education programs designed to inspire young people through the arts. These programs reach hundreds of thousands of students of all ages with vital arts-in-education programs, enhancing their studies and enriching their lives well into the future.

The Orange County Performing Arts Center is proud to serve as the artistic home to the region's major performing arts organizations: Pacific Symphony, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County and the Pacific Chorale.

For more information, visit The Center can also be found online at Blogger, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Flickr.

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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Aug 6, 2009
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