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David C. Howse to join Polly Carl and David Dower at Emerson Office of the Arts

Three-person leadership team now set, will co-direct the multifaceted Office of the Arts programs, including ArtsEmerson and HowlRound

Boston, MA (February 5, 2015)—Emerson College President Lee Pelton announced today that the College’s Office of the Arts’ leadership transition is now complete, with David C. Howse set to join Polly Carl and David Dower beginning in March.

This completes a series of moves that began when ArtsEmerson Founder and Office of the Arts Executive Director Rob Orchard moved into the role of Founder and Creative Consultant. On January 1, David Dower assumed Orchard’s role at the College and became Vice President of the Office of the Arts and Artistic Director for ArtsEmerson: The World On Stage. Associate Vice President Polly Carl stepped up to the newly created role of Creative Director for ArtsEmerson in addition to her role as Director of the Office of the Arts’ other flagship program, HowlRound. David C. Howse, who leaves a longtime position as the Executive Director of the celebrated Boston Children’s Chorus (BCC), becomes an Associate Vice President at Emerson and will be the Managing Director of the Office of the Arts and ArtsEmerson. Both Howse and Dower will have Contributing Editor roles with HowlRound.

“The Office of the Arts is a multifaceted unit of the College with a distinctive mission of serving Emerson College, the city of Boston, and performing artists worldwide. Through very public programs like ArtsEmerson: The World On Stage and HowlRound, and through innovative engagement initiatives on campus and across the city, we pursue a unified vision of democratizing access to the performing arts,” said Carl.

Howse joins the Office of the Arts after 11 years with BCC, a nationally recognized youth arts organization committed to uniting the city’s diverse communities through the power of their voices. “David has led BCC with a passion and purpose that inspires us all,” said Tim Ferguson, BCC Board President. “His unwavering commitment to our mission led us on a journey to articulate our social change agenda; a journey that will continue to guide us for years to come. We are deeply grateful for his service at BCC and we are thrilled that he will continue this important work here in Boston. We are excited about possible collaboration with David in his new role at Emerson in the years ahead,” said Ferguson.

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. “My work at BCC is much aligned with the unique mission and portfolio of responsibilities of Emerson’s Office of the Arts, which requires an innovative leadership structure, and we’ve chosen to approach it as a three-legged stool,” Howse added.

“David and Polly have developed a compelling vision that aligns the arts with diversity and innovative community engagement,” said Emerson College President Lee Pelton. “David Howse is an extraordinary arts advocate and leader. His appointment amplifies and strengthens the College's expressed belief that arts can and should play a critical and leading role in civic transformation. The ArtsEmerson leadership team and the integrated structure they’ve designed will permit Emerson College to make a powerful difference not only locally but nationally and globally, as well,” he said.



David Dower is the Artistic Director of the Emerson College Office of the Arts and of ArtsEmerson: The World On Stage. He arrived at Emerson in 2012 as the Director of Artistic Programs from six seasons at Arena Stage in Washington, DC, where he was the Director of Artistic Development and Associate Artistic Director. While there, he created the American Voices New Play Institute, from which HowlRound was launched, and served as the artistic producer of Tony-winning productions of 33 Variations, Next to Normal (which also won the Pulitzer Prize that year), and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (co-produced with Carl and Steppenwolf). Prior to Arena, he spent 20 years in San Francisco, where he founded The Z Space Studio and its predecessor, The Z Collective. He is a frequent contributor to HowlRound, where he is a Contributing Editor, and can be followed on Twitter @ddower.


Polly Carl is the Director of HowlRound and the Creative Director of ArtsEmerson at Emerson College. Her work at Emerson is focused on promoting theater practices around the core principle that theater is for everyone. She divides her time between theory and practice—between collaborating on the challenges facing our field, and developing and presenting work for the stage. She spent two years as Director of Artistic Development at Steppenwolf Theatre and served eleven years at the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis as Producing Artistic Director. She regularly teaches, writes, consults, and mentors. She received a PhD in comparative studies in discourse and society from the University of Minnesota.


David C. Howse is a recognized speaker and commentator on the arts and social integration. Howse serves as the Executive Director of the award-winning Boston Children’s Chorus (BCC), an organization that brings youth from the ages of 7 to 18 from the Greater Boston area to create harmony both musically and socially through a shared love of music. Howse holds degrees from Bradley University and New England Conservatory of Music and is a graduate of Harvard Business School's Next Generation Executive Leadership Program. He remains active with the National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program, a consortium of 200 of the world’s top cultural leaders, which addresses the critical issues that face the arts and cultural sector worldwide. Howse has received numerous awards for his innovative leadership including Boston Business Journal's “top 40 under 40” award for best and brightest young executives. David serves on the South Shore Hospital Board of Directors, Chorus America Board of Directors, and on the Board of the Forbes House Museum. He also serves on the advisory board of the Eliot School for the Arts and the corporation of the Community Music Center of Boston.



With the opening of the Paramount Center in 2010, Emerson College gifted an extraordinary set of resources to the students of Emerson, the city of Boston, and performing artists around the world. The Office of the Arts, as a steward of those resources, has both the possibility and responsibility to fully activate these resources on behalf of the core strategic priorities of the College under President Pelton: diversity, civic engagement, innovation, and global engagement. Our programmatic approaches, including ArtsEmerson, HowlRound, and our civic and student engagement strategies, already illustrate a deep dedication to pursuing these priorities fully, with verve and tenacity, in all facets of our work. To have the chance to lead such a unique and vibrant operation with colleagues of this caliber is the opportunity of my lifetime. Polly Carl and I have been conceptual collaborators for more than a decade at this point. David Howse has been part of our community of collaborators since we arrived in Boston. That he is able to join us in leading the Office of the Arts is an incredible outcome of this reorganization. Our core values are fully shared and deeply held. Our areas of expertise are fully complementary. Our commitment to effective stewardship of public resources, to the democratization of access to the arts, and to the capacity of the arts and arts leaders to engage fully as citizens of the city and the world, is total. Together we will lead a staff equally dedicated to this vision, in complete alignment with the course President Pelton has set for the College, emanating from the heart of the city, and in conversation with artists around the world. It’s just an extraordinary thing, and we are now poised for some exceptional and unexpected outcomes.


When David Dower and I arrived here in 2012, beautiful new theater facilities had been open for only a brief time, and a new President of Emerson College, Lee Pelton, had just arrived. We entered at a time of great possibility to contribute to a new president’s vision, and at a moment when the Office of the Arts was still being formed. The work we began in 2012 will only continue as we create this new leadership team. David Dower and I, collaborators for more than a decade, met David Howse when we first arrived in Boston. Instantly we knew we had a partner in a shared vision for advancing the role of the arts in civic dialogue and civic transformation. We had no idea at that time that we would be so fortunate as to have David Howse join our team. This feels like an amazing moment for me personally as I have the opportunity to explore a shared leadership model with two of the most intelligent, passionate, and committed people I’ve had the chance to work with in my long career in the theater.


For more than a decade, I have had the privilege of working with a team of amazing colleagues at Boston Children's Chorus—a team committed to social change through the arts. Together we have tackled tough issues related to race and class, and the impact those issues have on us as individuals and as a society. We have been inspired by a conviction that the arts can lead to a more empathetic, compassionate, and just society. It is a conviction that I found to be shared by my two new colleagues at the Office of the Arts at Emerson College. David and Polly’s arrival in Boston in 2012 brought fresh energy and a shared ambition for the arts community, an ambition that requires us to understand and value diversity in a new way. The energy and synergy in our first meeting was palpable, and we all left encouraged about this burgeoning movement in the arts. Having spent my career dedicated to exploring the intersection of the arts and social integration, I am excited to join David and Polly—two giants in the field—and the entire Emerson team to continue this important work. With the community as our collaborators and like-minded organizations as partners, we have the potential to truly demonstrate that the arts can be transformative for individuals and communities.

About Emerson College

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city’s Theatre District, Emerson College educates individuals who will solve problems and change the world through engaged leadership in communication and the arts, a mission informed by liberal learning. The College has 3,660 undergraduates and 829 graduate students from across the United States and 50 countries. Emerson is internationally known for its study and internship programs in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, the  Netherlands, London, China, and the Czech Republic. For more information, visit

About the Office of the Arts

The Office of the Arts (OA) administers the spectacular Emerson College facilities including the Paramount Center, Tufte Performance and Production Center, and Cutler Majestic Theatre, as it relates to their public use. Working with local, national, and international producers and presenters, OA facilitates programming across a wide spectrum. Through ArtsEmerson: The World On Stage, the Office of the Arts programs a rich portfolio of theater, film, and music that adds to the cultural choices of the campus, surrounding communities, and beyond, and brings some of the world's most legendary and pioneering artists to Boston. At Emerson, they perform, teach, and collaborate with faculty and students. For more information, visit the Office of the Arts webpage at

About HowlRound

HowlRound, located in the Office of the Arts at Emerson College, designs and develops online communication platforms and in-person gatherings that promote access, participation, organizational collaboration, field-wide research, and new teaching practices to illuminate the breadth, diversity, and impact of a commons-based approach to performance practice. For more information, visit

About ArtsEmerson: The World On Stage

Founded in 2010 by Rob Orchard (current ArtsEmerson Creative Consultant), ArtsEmerson seeks to redefine the relationship between artist and audience, and the impact of theater on community. Through performance programs, ongoing artist residencies, and repeated engagements with ensembles, audiences see how our work evolves over time and, as a result, connect to artists’ deeper ambitions and processes. This investment not only strengthens the bond between artists and audiences but also allows for a highly interactive exchange that helps to realize the full potential of the arts in the life and character of the city of Boston. For more information, visit

About the Boston Children’s Chorus

The Boston Children's Chorus (BCC) harnesses the power and joy of music to unite our city's diverse communities and inspire social change. Our singers transcend social barriers in a celebration of shared humanity and love of music. The singers’ powerful voices and rich diversity have inspired audiences in Boston and throughout the world. Through rigorous musical training and equally meaningful social bridging experiences, a corps of compassionate, empathic, and engaged young leaders is emerging through the various Boston communities. Through intensive choral training and high-profile public performance experience (locally, throughout the United States, and around the world), they learn discipline, develop leadership skills, and proudly represent the city of Boston as ambassadors of harmony. For more information, visit

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