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David C. Howse is leaving ArtsEmerson for presidency of California college

David C. Howse, executive director of ArtsEmerson and vice president of Emerson College’s Office of the Arts, is leaving the school to become president of the California College of the Arts.Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

David C. Howse is leaving his leadership posts at ArtsEmerson and Emerson College at the end of next month to become president of the California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

In a news release Wednesday, Emerson College president Jay Bernhardt said that “plans for interim leadership and a forthcoming search for permanent leadership” will be announced “in the coming days.”

ArtsEmerson is a presenting and producing theater organization that operates under the aegis of Emerson College. Howse joined ArtsEmerson in 2015 after a lengthy stint as executive director of the Boston Children’s Chorus. He currently serves as executive director at ArtsEmerson and vice president in Emerson’s Office of the Arts.


The second-ranking leader at ArtsEmerson is Ronee Penoi, the director of artistic programming. Former artistic director David Dower left in 2021, also for a leadership job in San Francisco, as executive producer of the US operations of The 7 Fingers, a circus-theater troupe.

Bernhardt credited Howse and his colleagues with making ArtsEmerson “the leading presenter of contemporary world theater in Boston and one of the top arts institutions in the city,” adding: “We intend to continue this important work and build on David’s legacy.”

In a statement, Howse called the leadership post at the California College of the Arts “an incredible opportunity, because it brings together my interests in and professional dedication to the arts with my passion for teaching, innovating, and engaging the community.”

“I am incredibly proud of and grateful for the successes during my tenure at Emerson College, during which I helped launch creative programs, and greatly expanded and deepened our audience experience, while ensuring that our work remained connected to Emerson’s educational mission,” Howse said. “Boston is a wonderful city and it has been such a great pleasure to work with dedicated colleagues to make an impact on the city through the arts.”


In a statement, Lorna Meyer Calas, chair of the California College of the Arts’ board of trustees, cited Howse’s fund-raising at Emerson and Boston Children’s Chorus, his “commitment to community engagement,” and his “strengths in collaborating with an array of campus stakeholders and managing complex projects, while also championing the strategic priorities of inclusion and belonging that are central to our vision, too.”

The college, which offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees, had a 2021 fall enrollment of 1,249 students, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Don Aucoin can be reached at Follow him @GlobeAucoin.