Los Angeles — February 26, 2020 — The Board of the Trustees of Otis College of Art and Design today announced Charles Hirschhorn as its next president, effective June 1, 2020. Mr. Hirschhorn, currently President of AEG Television, is a recognized leader in entertainment and the arts, and also serves as a Trustee of the Berklee College of Music.
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees of Otis College of Art and Design, I’m excited to welcome Charles Hirschhorn as incoming president to the College,” said Mei-Lee Ney, Otis College Board of Trustees Chair. “His background and experience in the arts, digital media, education, and entertainment align perfectly with the needs of Otis and its students. Rarely has there been so much promise and potential for our entire College. It’s with immense support and enthusiasm that we look forward to working with Charles to advance Otis into an even greater institution.”
“My life’s ambition is committed to empowering creative individuals to achieve their potential,” Hirschhorn said. “I believe artists and designers have a responsibility to enrich both their community and our world. Otis College makes this possible in so many ways: training, educating, and mentoring artists and designers; providing students the foundational skills to refine their talents; creating a local community celebrating diversity, collaboration, experimentation, and empathy while empowering creative action globally; preparing students for careers; and maintaining a faculty and staff that assures continual excellence amidst an ever-changing student body. I owe my career to a transformative art and design education I received in college. I am thrilled that this opportunity at Otis College gives me a chance to return the favor for a new generation of art and design students.”
With a three-decade-long career spanning film, television, cable, broadband, animation, and video games, Hirschhorn founded G4 Television, the first TV network dedicated to video games, and was Chief Creative Officer of Retirement Living TV, the country’s only network serving adults aged 50+. As Vice-President of Development for Fox Broadcasting, he helped launch the Fox Network and developed the Emmy-winning sketch comedy series, In Living Color. While Vice-President of Production at Disney’s Hollywood Pictures, he was involved in such films as The Joy Luck Club and the Oscar-nominated Quiz Show. Hirschhorn also was President of Disney Television and Television Animation, where he oversaw movies and animated TV series releases for ABC’s The Wonderful World of Disney, the Disney Channel, Disney Video Premieres, and Movietoons, managing over 1,200 employees. More recently, as President of AEG Television, Hirschhorn co-managed AXS TV, which was launched in 2012 in partnership with Mark Cuban, AEG, CAA, CBS, and Ryan Seacrest Media.
“We are thrilled that Charles is joining the Otis College team,” said Todd Goldstein, Chief Revenue Officer at AEG. “We look forward to rolling up our sleeves and helping him empower student success and watching them positively impact the future.”
Hirschhorn is an active community member. For over a decade, he has volunteered with Chrysalis, offering job counseling services to convicted felons. In addition to Berklee College of Music, he serves on the boards of Harvard College Office of the Arts and Wilshire Boulevard Temple, and is on the advisory board of USC’s Lloyd Grief Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. He also is a founder of L.A. City Partners. He holds a B.A. degree from Harvard College, and served as an Arts Management Fellow for the National Endowment for the Arts.
“As a long-standing Trustee of Berklee College of Music, Charles is known for his appreciation of our gifted and artistic students, his strategic insights, and his ability to engage and inspire others,” said Roger H. Brown, President of Berklee College of Music. “We congratulate Otis College of Art and Design and Charles on this propitious match."
Mr. Hirschhorn will step into his role as President of Otis College at a pivotal time in the institution’s history. Earlier this month, the College released its findings for the 2020 Otis Report on the Creative Economy, with presentations by Beacon Economics, Amir Whitaker of the ACLU, and L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. The report, now in its 13th year, has become highly recognized throughout the state of California and around the world as a key indicator of creative economic activity for the world’s fifth-largest economy. In May, the 2019-2020 academic year will culminate in the College’s Annual Exhibition—for the first time joined by the Scholarship Benefit and Fashion Show—bringing graduating students from both undergraduate and graduate programs together on one weekend to show their work across a wide range of programs and disciplines. Academy Award-winning costume designer for Black Panther, Ruth Carter, a current mentor in the Fashion Design program, will give the keynote address during the benefit dinner. The day after Annual Exhibition, artist and author Enrique Martínez Celaya will receive an honorary degree from the College and deliver the commencement address to graduating seniors and MFA candidates.
ABOUT OTIS COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN
Established in 1918, Otis College of Art and Design is a non-profit 501(c)3 institution and national leader in art and design education. The College mission is to educate a diverse community of students to become highly skilled, well-informed, and responsible professionals—empowering them to shape the world.
Otis College enrolls approximately 1,100 full-time students, and offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Architecture/Landscape/Interiors, Digital Media (Animation, Game and Entertainment Design, and Motion Design), Fashion Design, Communication Arts (Graphic Design, and Illustration), Fine Arts (Painting, Photography, and Sculpture/New Genres), Product Design, and Toy Design. Otis College also awards the Master of Fine Arts degree in Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Public Practice, and Writing. The five-acre main campus is located on L.A.’s Westside near the beach and LAX, and the Graduate Studios are in the Creative Corridor in nearby Culver City.
As Los Angeles’s first professional art school, Otis College boasts alumni and faculty who are Fulbright, MacArthur, and Guggenheim grant recipients, Oscar winners, legendary costume designers, leaders of contemporary art movements, entrepreneurs, and design stars at Apple, Abercrombie & Fitch, Pixar, DreamWorks, Mattel, Nike, and Disney.
Photo by James Ross Mankoff, courtesy of Otis College.