People & Places

Flynn Center director to step down

John Killacky, executive director of the Flynn Center.

John Killacky, the longtime director of the Flynn Center in Burlington, will step down in June 2018.

Killacky has led the Flynn, which is the leading performance arts center in Vermont, since 2010. He spearheaded a three-year $2.3 million renovation campaign, fostered partnerships with cultural organizations across the state and provided discounted tickets to performances to students and social service agency clients.

“It is such a pleasure and honor to steward this extraordinary organization,” Killacky said in a statement. “I look forward to the season ahead working with the amazing staff and board, supporters, participants, and audience members to ensure that our mantra of ‘Everybody Belongs’ at the Flynn continues to be realized.”

Under his leadership, the annual operating budget of the Flynn increased to $7.7 million. Killacky obtained national multi-year grants from Kresge, Surdna, Hearst and Ford foundations as well as the Doris Duke Charitable Trust. He raised $2.3 million over a three-year period to renovate the Flynn. The campaign was supported by 274 individuals, corporations, foundations and government agencies.

Killacky has worked to ensure that students and the clients of human and social service agencies have access to discounted tickets to performances. The Flynn now provides discount tickets to 38,000 students a year and $30,000 in scholarships for classes and camps.

The center’s programs have been expanded to serve artists and audiences with disabilities.

Partnerships have been a hallmark of Killacky’s leadership. He has led marketing and fundraising collaborations with Burlington City Arts, Catamount Arts, Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, Lyric Theatre, UVM Lane Series, Vermont Stage, Vermont Symphony Orchestra and Vermont Youth Orchestra.

He received the Innovation in Access Award from Arts Presenters/MET Life Foundation in 2011, Margaret L. (Peggy) Kannenstine Award for Arts Advocacy from the Vermont Arts Council in 2015, and a Vermont Autism Task Force Appreciation Award in 2016.

Killacky will continue to contribute commentaries to VPR and VTDigger.

Eric Flegenheimer, the chair of the Flynn Center board, said that Killacky has been “an invaluable leader of the Flynn.

“We couldn’t be happier with what he’s accomplished,” Flegenheimer said. “He worked tirelessly to ensure that the Flynn is a pillar of the community, an organization that is widely respected in the arts field, and a place where everyone feels welcome. On behalf of the entire board, our thanks go out to John, who has served as an outstanding leader and inspiration to everyone at the Flynn. We look forward to working with him over this next season.”

The board will begin a national search for Killacky’s replacement this fall.

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Anne Galloway

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