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Office of the Arts/ArtsEmerson Leadership Transition

Dear members of the Emerson community:

I am writing to share news about a transition in leadership within the Office of the Arts that will ensure that the vision and values established for ArtsEmerson, and for the College’s arts programming, will continue long into the future. Beginning in January 2021, David Dower will leave his leadership role with Emerson’s Office of the Arts, ArtsEmerson and HowlRound. David C. Howse will assume the role of Vice President of the Emerson College Office of the Arts and continue as ArtsEmerson’s Executive Director.

David Dower has led the Office of the Arts, ArtsEmerson and HowlRound in a joint capacity with David Howse since 2015. David plans to move to the West Coast to be closer to family, and to take on a new creative opportunity as the Executive Producer of the US operations of the Montreal-based company The Seven Fingers. He will remain engaged with ArtsEmerson until the transition is complete.

Under their joint leadership, ArtsEmerson has joyfully become Boston’s leading presenter of contemporary world theatre, and an arts organization that has strengthened the College’s expressed belief that arts can and should play a critical and leading role in civic transformation. Together, as a team, they have completed a vision that aligns the arts with diverse, inclusive and innovative community engagement.

David Dower first joined the college as ArtsEmerson’s as director of artistic programs in 2012. He became Vice President for the Office of the Arts in 2015 and is a co-founder and a contributing editor to HowlRound. With ArtsEmerson he directed Guillermo Calderón’sKiss, Daniel Beaty’s Mr. Joy and Breath and Imagination, Melinda Lopez’s Mala, Maurice Hines’s Tappin’ Through Life and Baritones UnBound, conceived by Marc Kudisch.

Prior to joining Emerson, David Dower was Director of Artistic Development and Associate Director at Arena Stage in Washington D.C., where he founded the American Voices New Play Institute (AVNPI), from which HowlRound was launched. At Arena, he authored the revamped artistic strategy that debuted with the opening of its new facility in October 2010 and served as Arena’s artistic producer from 2007 – 2011, including the Tony/Pulitzer-winning Next to Normal and other acclaimed productions. Prior to Arena, he spent 20 years in San Francisco, where he founded The Z Space Studio and its predecessor, The Z Collective.

David Howse joined Emerson in 2015 as the Associate Vice President for the Office of the Arts and Managing Director for both ArtsEmerson and the Office of the Arts. Prior to that he was the longtime executive director of the Boston Children’s Chorus (BCC), a nationally recognized youth arts organization committed to uniting the city’s diverse communities through the power of their voices. As a founding staff member, Howse helped grow the BCC from a pilot program, serving 30 kids in 2003, to a vibrant organization, educating more than 500 singers in 12 choirs. Howse is a recognized speaker and commentator on the arts and social integration and is active in several cultural organizations. He also teaches at the Institute for Nonprofit Practice. In April 2020, he was named by the Boston Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in Boston.

Although this transition is bittersweet for the College, ArtsEmerson and for “The Davids,” as they have become known in our community, we are confident that ArtsEmerson will continue to make a significant difference in Boston and around the world by presenting extraordinary programming that connects us to life’s most enduring themes as it enriches our community and the world.

Please join me in congratulating both Davids in their new and well-earned leadership roles in the performing arts.

Lee Pelton

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