Creating an institution is not unlike creating a work of art. In this case, the art form is theater. But like every act of creativity, it starts from a vision of something that will be called into being by the people who are making it.
David Dower and David C. Howse have been co-leading the work of calling into being a vision for ArtsEmerson with the goal of creating an arts organization that serves as a place of belonging for all of Boston, connects audiences across difference, and helps our city transcend its history with race, inequity, and geographic segregation.
And, like a director who knows when the show is ready to open, good institutional leaders recognize the moment where it is time to transition from the energy of building out a vision to the energy of sustaining it. When the vision moves from aspirational to actualized, new and different skills are needed.
In every long-running show, the director leaves the process after opening night, so that the ensemble gathered around the vision can sustain, evolve, and deepen the performance as it goes on. David Dower is a theater director. A little over a year ago, recognizing that ArtsEmerson had “opened,” he understood the moment had come for him to step aside. He shared this sense with David Howse. Together they began putting in place a plan for that transition. And today, it can be announced that David Dower will be leaving his role in January of 2021.
David Howse will assume the role of Vice President of the Emerson College Office of the Arts and remain ArtsEmerson’s Executive Director. David Dower will head to the San Francisco Bay Area, where his son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter live, to take on a new creative opportunity as the Executive Producer of the US operations of the Montreal-based company The 7 Fingers. He will remain engaged with ArtsEmerson on an ongoing basis for as long as it takes for the transition to be completed.
“Under the joint leadership of David Dower and David C. Howse, ArtsEmerson has joyfully become Boston’s leading presenter of contemporary world theatre and an organization that has strengthened the College’s expressed belief that arts can and should play a critical and leading role in civic transformation.”– Lee Pelton, President, Emerson College
Since merging their leadership skills at ArtsEmerson in 2015, the two have focused not only on building out the programming and the public face of ArtsEmerson, but also the internal culture of its team, which now works as a tight ensemble dedicated to a unified vision and set of values. It’s this team that has created the success for which ArtsEmerson has been recognized locally, nationally, and internationally. It’s this team, under David Howse’s continued leadership, that will evolve, sustain and elevate ArtsEmerson going forward.
Both David Dower and David C. Howse have complete confidence in this team, and in the future of ArtsEmerson. Though there is a bittersweet tinge to this transition for the both of them—whose deep friendship and capacity for effortless shared leadership have been on display for ArtsEmerson supporters through the years they’ve led together—there is also joy and a tremendous sense of accomplishment.
ArtsEmerson is here. It is here to stay. And it’s making a difference, to our city, to our audiences, to our artists, and to the people who daily make it soar.
MON SEP 14 @ 5PM ET
Live Town Hall: The Davids on Transition
Now Available for On-Demand Viewing