In Memoriam: Professor Arthur ‘Art’ Horowitz

Arthur Horowitz, a professor of theatre at Pomona College, passed away in New Orleans June 16, at the age of 73. He was a key part of Pomona’s theatre faculty for 14 years. (Photo courtesy of Pomona College)

Arthur “Art” Horowitz, a professor of theater at Pomona College who taught for over 14 years, died suddenly June 16 while on sabbatical in New Orleans.

“The loss has been vast,” said Theater Department Program Administrator Cathy Seaman. “I’m still trying to grasp it. I still think I’m going to hear him come through the door with his great, ‘Hi. How’re you doing? How’s life?’ [He always] want[ed] to put forth his very best. When he was here, he was here.”

After graduating from Hofstra University, Horowitz taught high school English classes for 20 years. He then got his doctorate at the University of California, Davis, in 1997. Before coming to Pomona in 2004, Horowitz taught at several California universities.

“When he asked about something, he meant it,” Administrative Assistant of Theatre Mary Rosier said. “He just had a true, genuine care […] And [he] was like that with the students — he would take a deep personal interest in them, even outside college.”

As early as his first year in Pomona’s theater department, Horowitz manifested his creativity in several plays, including a production of Michael Frayn’s “Copenhagen,” about WWII nuclear physicists and performed inside of Millikan Laboratory’s physics auditorium. He also directed the production of Martin McDonagh’s “The Pillowman,” a dark comedy about an interrogation room set in a storage room in the basement of Harwood Court.

“He left an indelible mark on my life. He never failed to lift me up when I needed it, and did so with a smile and a laugh. He will be greatly missed.”

Oliver Shirley PO ’15
Christina Hurtado-Pierson PO ’06, now a theater professor at Pomona, was one of Horowitz’s students. She praised his dedication to helping students apply for graduate schools and fellowships.

“He was convinced he was teaching the next generation of leaders and geniuses,” she said. “He really went above and beyond to connect students to work that would inspire them, to people in the field to talk to, just to tell you that he believed that the work you were doing as an artist was valid and important.”

An expert in classics, Horowitz was awarded a grant from the Folger Institute for Shakespeare Studies National Endowment for the Humanities Institute Project in 2011 to study international interpretations of Shakespeare.

Horowitz had a passion for “the value of interpretation and cross-cultural interpretations,” according to Hurtado-Pierson. He was a dramaturge who loved piecing together the social and historical backgrounds for both classical and developing plays within the Claremont Colleges, Los Angeles, and Pasadena communities, Hurtado-Pierson said.

“A light was flipped on when he interacted with students — [they] immediately engaged,” said Seaman, the theater department administrator. “The excitement carried through so that they could believe themselves indomitable. They could do anything. He was an advocate for the students, he was a mentor, he was a friend, and they were simply mesmerized.”

Oliver Shirley PO ’15 acted under Horowitz’s direction in a 2014 production of Anton Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya.

“He left an indelible mark on my life,” Shirley wrote in a message to TSL. “He never failed to lift me up when I needed it, and did so with a smile and a laugh. He will be greatly missed.”

Before his death, Horowitz was writing a book about the renowned playwrights Chekhov and Carlo Goldoni. He also wrote in several journals and published a book, “Prospero’s ‘True Preservers’: Peter Brook, Yukio Ninagawa, and Giorgio Strehler — Twentieth-Century Directors Approach Shakespeare’s The Tempest.”

“I’ve known him for 14 years, and the worst thing I’ve ever heard him say was, ‘Somebody learned a lot this semester and grew,’” Hurtado-Pierson said. “He believed so much in the potential of his students, and he made it known: ‘Theater needs your voice’ […] Especially for women artists and people of color, whose voices have so long been silenced.”

Hurtado-Pierson continued, “The hardest part of losing him is that the one person who, throughout my career, always believed in me, is gone.”

A memorial service for Horowitz, which will include time for friends and family to share words and memories, will be held Dec. 1 at 1:30 p.m. at Pomona’s Seaver Theater.

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