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OCCTAC News - April 2022

Thank You Mayor Sarmiento for Recognizing OCCTAC During Autism Awareness Month!

Pictured L-R: Roberto Reyes, Dr. Ana Jimenez-Hami, city official, Gloria Hernandez, Mayor Vincente Sarmiento, city official, Jose Luis. Photo courtesy of City of Santa Ana.

On Tuesday, April 19, Santa Ana Mayor Vincente Sarmiento proclaimed April “Autism Awareness Month” at the city council meeting. OCCTAC was recognized as an advocate for individuals with Autism, and Dr. Ana Jimenez-Hami and our OCCTAC student Roberto Reyes spoke at the meeting. The City of Santa Ana proclaimed April a time to raise public awareness hoping that it will lead to a better understanding of Autism, while celebrating the work of advocates, professionals, family members, and all who work to build a better tomorrow for those with Autism.

Roberto Reyes spoke at the council meeting about what OCCTAC has meant to him, “I was diagnosed with Autism when I was younger, and growing up with a disability wasn’t always easy. OCCTAC has really helped me grow so much with their programs. As soon as you walk through their doors, they’re like, ‘hey, we know you’re different but that’s ok, because you still matter.’ And to know that we are getting recognition that we need is just amazing. Dr. Ana along with so many people at the center have changed so many lives and families. It’s just really an honor to be a student there.” Roberto along with his wonderful brother, Jesus, have been attending OCCTAC for 15 years. Roberto is a very gifted student who is an incredible actor and plays four instruments: violin, viola, piano, and harp.

Thank you so much Mayor Sarmiento for proclaiming April as Autism Awareness month and recognizing OCCTAC!


OCCTAC's Latin Jazz Concert Coming To DTSA Art Walk May 7th 2022

When Oskar Cartaya and Ana Jimenez were in school together in Puerto Rico, neither realized at the time what fruits their friendship would later produce. Oskar went on to become a Latin Grammy® nominated jazz musician. Ana would later earn her doctorate and establish a therapeutic arts organization for underserved communities in Santa Ana.

We spoke with Oskar recently, and he told us how their friendship led to the upcoming May 7 Latin Jazz concert. “This is almost a full circle moment,” said Cartaya. “I put together an event for Ana in 2000 when she first started OCCTAC, and here we are twenty—no, twenty-two! – years later celebrating with music again. Part of my mission statement as an artist, has always been to give back. We all are part of our surroundings and we’re responsible for the outcome that we want for our society. I know the joy that music gives me and the power of music and what it means to people. It’s amazing. So anytime that I can do something with my gift, I do not hesitate.”

Oskar Cartaya, during the course of a full career playing bass, composing, arranging and acting as musical director for an amazing array of artists, has soaked up the influences of his homes in Puerto Rico, New York and Los Angeles to create his very unique style. A long prolific career working with the likes of Spyro Gyra, Herb Albert, Jennifer Lopez, Celia Cruz, Rubén Blades, Tito Puente, Robbie Robertson, Willie Colon, Dave Valentin and more has earned Cartaya a solid reputation in the music industry. We at OCCTAC are so honored and excited to bring Oskar’s talent and those of his musical guests to our Santa Ana Community!

OCCTAC proudly presents a free cultural event, Latin Jazz Concert, in downtown Santa Ana at the DTSA Art Walk on May 7 in the beautiful Artists Village. This event is partially funded by the City of Santa Ana Arts and Culture Office. The ert will feature Latin Grammy® nominee Oskar Cartaya and band LatiNation, with special guests musician and actor Angelo Pagan and flamenco artist Manuel Gutierrez, and special appearance by OCCTAC students. The fun starts 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm, so bring the whole family as we salsa into spring!





Preparatory Arts Academy 2022

3rd Annual Aspiring Musician Challenge


Register Today for Spring Semester!

Classes for our amazing Preparatory Arts Academy are open for registration now! Studio Arts, Dance, Music, Media Arts and more! Call us or visit our website for more information on how your students can be part of the OCCTAC dream!

OCCTAC: 714.547.5468


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You Can Help OCCTAC Today!

Become a Donor

Did you know that when you donate, you are improving your own health as well? A study by the University of Oregon found that donating activates the pleasure center in your brain. Voluntary donations are especially pleasurable and improve your happiness, joy, and contentment!

OCCTAC is forever grateful to our Supporters and Community Partners!

Their donations and support continue to help our Arts Center grow and bring opportunities to our families and community, and you can be part of this as well!

Please help OCCTAC by sharing our Social Media links, liking our page, sharing our events and donating to our center!

Find out how by clicking on the link below:

Donate with Amazon Smile!

You can help OCCTAC today by donating money, choosing to donate on a recurring basis, or by designating “Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center” as your charity when purchasing through Amazon via their Amazon Smile program at

Here are the simple steps to designate OCCTAC as your charitable organization to receive a portion of the purchase price:

1. On your first visit to AmazonSmile , you need to select “Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts” to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at will result in a donation.

2. If you already use Amazon Smile for another charity, you can change your charity to "Orange County Therapeutic Arts" on your Amazon Smile home page.

We appreciate you and your continued support of OCCTAC’s mission to provide innovative, artistic, educational and therapeutic programs that inspire and transform children, at-risk youth, adults and their families to fulfill their highest potential.

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