David Johnston is Executive Director for Exploring the Metropolis (EtM). An arts leader, administrator, playwright/librettist and screenwriter, he is based in New York City. At New York Foundation for the Arts, he was part of the initial team responsible for conception of NYFA Source and helped to administer the New York Arts Recovery Fund. He joined Exploring the Metropolis in 2002, and became Executive Director in the fall of 2012. For EtM, when the organization was known as NYC Performing Arts Spaces (NYC PAS), he oversaw the NYC Music, Dance and Theatre Spaces website programs and special projects. He served as liaison with government and foundation funders, and conducted outreach with local arts service organizations and councils. In 2007, along with Founder/Director Eugenie C. Cowan, he led a strategic planning process, which led to transfer of NYC PAS, completed in September 2010.

He was Project Director for the 2010 study of dance rehearsal space needs “We Make Do, More Time is Better but Budget is King,” and was Project Director for the Queens Workspace Initiative. He developed EtM’s Con Edison Composer Residencies, (now in its tenth year,) the EtM Choreographer + Composer Residencies in Partnership with the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, and the EtM Ridgewood Bushwick Composer Residency. Under his leadership, EtM has leveraged more than $1,000,000 in free rehearsal/development space for New York City’s artists.

David has a degree from the College of William and Mary and a certificate from the Professional Workshop at Circle in the Square. He is an award-winning playwright whose work has been produced in New York, Cape Cod, Los Angeles, Washington, London, the Czech Republic and Germany. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Actors Equity, Actors Studio Playwrights/Directors Workshop, BMI Librettists Workshop, and was a Resident Artist with American Lyric Theater’s Composer Librettist Development Program. His most recent projects include the libretto for Houston Grand Opera’s “Monkey and Francine in the City of Tigers” with composer Kamala Sankaram, and a new opera based on poet Anne Sexton’s play “Mercy Street.”