Vermont Arts Council

Vermont Made Episode 6: Called to Serve the Arts with John Killacky

“Things don’t have to be overtly political to be radical, but what you have to do is make authentic work.” —John Killacky


In this episode of Vermont Made, state legislator and former executive director of The Flynn John Killacky discusses because art, his new collection of commentary, critique, and conversations from over 30 years in the arts.

Learn more about John at, and order because art direct from Vermont bookseller Phoenix Books.

See John in his 2020 short film collaboration with Eiko Otake and Brian Stevenson, Elegies.

Download a transcript of the episode (PDF).

Listen to this episode on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify, and most other podcast players.

“It’s a very interesting moment that we’re living in. I think it’s a liminal moment because the art world got pretty complacent, and now with the pandemic, and the racial reckoning that’s happening in this country, it’s cracking things wide open again, and we have to start anew. And so I think artists have a more urgent relationship to the now, and they’re talking about work in a different way. I think, once again, we see some of the most powerful things coming out of culturally specific communities, and it’s coming out of anger, it’s erupting again.”

John R. Killacky currently serves in the Vermont House of Representatives. Previously he was executive director of Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, program officer for arts and culture at San Francisco Foundation, executive director of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and curator of performing arts for Walker Art Center. Other past positions include program officer at Pew Charitable Trusts, general manager of PepsiCo SUMMERFARE, and managing director of the Trisha Brown and Laura Dean dance companies. He received the First Bank Award Sally Ordway Irvine Award in Artistic Vision, William Dawson Award for Programming Excellence from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Dance USA’s Ernie Award as an unsung hero, Fan Taylor Distinguished Service Award for Exemplary Service to the Field of Professional Presenting, and Vermont Arts Council’s Kannenstine Award for Arts Advocacy. He co-edited the Lambda Literary Award-winning anthology, Queer Crips: Disabled Gay Men and Their Stories.