Overview & History

logo-newFounded in 2000, and adjacent to the Bowers Museum, OCCTAC is a place where emotion is in motion. Children express joy through instruments often cut from public school budgets: the harp, violin, guitar and drum, to name a few. They demonstrate wonder with paintbrushes, crayons and pencil. They offer hope with their feet, tapping to the sounds of everything from traditional Mexican song to European classical music.

The ARTS center is the first and only organization in Orange County offering unique programming that combines the arts, academics and creative therapies to help youth realize their highest potential. OCCTAC offers a high-quality, comprehensive and multicultural curriculum that prioritizes on empowering children and youth of limited resources, from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. The foundation of the organization rests with committed and compassionate board members, staff and teachers, who are talented artists, musicians, educators and therapists.


The Orange Children’s Therapeutic ARTS Center (OCCTAC) was founded by Dr. Ana Jimenez-Hami in the year of 2000. After the tragic death of her parents, Aidita and Freddy Jimenez, Dr. Jimenez started the center in their memory. Her love for children with special needs and her parents’ humanitarian work gave her the inspiration to start this unique community organization that focuses on the ARTS as a vehicle to empower at-risk youth and children with special needs in Orange County.

In the summer of 2000, the Center began to provide after-school music and art classes to children with special needs. One year later, our agency expanded its’ mission to provide services to ALL youth, including typical children and at-risk youth due to the high need in the community, and lack of artistic programs for underprivileged families. Since then, the ARTS Center has grown tremendously, and expanded its’ level of services offering additional educational, therapeutic and a variety of support programs for families from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds in Orange County.


Dr. Ana Jimenez-Hami is the founding Executive Director for the OC Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center, and an Adjunct Faculty at Chapman University. Her passion is to bring educational opportunities and artistic access to underprivileged families, particularly special needs children and at-risk youth by providing programs that empower youth, build self-esteem and leadership, and lead to higher educational and academic goals.

Dr. Jimenez- Hami has been recognized continuously in the community for her contributions in the fields of Arts & Culture, Social Service, and Education. Most recently she was awarded the 2013 OC Register Hero of the Year. Some of her other awards and nominations include: (2009) “Women who Make a Difference in OC” Award Nominee; (2008) Regional Center of OC Award Nominee for Professional Development, (2007) National Hispanic Business Women Association Award for Organizational Entrepreneurship; (2007) Faculty Award from Chapman University; (2006) Community Building Award by the City of Santa Ana; (2004) Human Relations Award from the Orange County Human Relations Commission for promoting equality, human rights and social justice; (2003) Community Building Award in the fields of Arts & Culture by the National Organization of MANA, and others.

Dr. Ana Jimenez-Hami holds up her
OC Register ‘Hero of the Year’ honor
presented at the Everyday Heroes
Awards Gala on January 28, 2014.