When asked which is more important to her, the arts or the outdoors, new Valley Arts executive director Kira Bacon does not hesitate. “I am passionate about both equally, which is the primary reason I moved to the Mad River Valley.” Growing up in Center City Philadelphia with five siblings, Kira was immersed in the arts at an early age -- as an audience member and a participant. She spent summers in the Adirondack Mountains and started skiing when she attended college in Colorado.
“I first came to The Valley to ski seven years ago and was impressed with how the arts are imbedded in the community. I’m intrigued every time I pass John Matusz’s sculpture studio on Main Street, and The Bundy Modern still takes my breath away each time I visit,” she said. “To be able hike to the top of Lincoln Peak, view a world class watercolor exhibit at the Red Barn and drive up Dump Road to see Phantom’s exquisite productions -- all in the same day -- that’s my idea of a perfect place to live.”
Bacon brings to her new job significant experience and expertise as well as passion. Her background includes more than two decades of communications experience in both the corporate and nonprofit arts sectors including six years in communications at the Vermont Arts Council.
“With her extensive background, Kira brings a strong foundation of artistic excellence, community engagement, strategic vision and civic leadership to Valley Arts,” said board president Gary Eckhart. “We believe Kira offers the right combination of skills and experience to lead the organization during this difficult time and into a bright future.”
As director of communications for the Vermont Arts Council, Bacon directed marketing communications for Vermont’s official state arts agency. She was responsible for developing and implementing public relations and community outreach programs and oversaw social media channels. In addition, she planned and implemented organization events such as the Vermont Arts Awards and was the curator of the Spotlight Gallery.
She began acting and dance classes as a child and received an MFA in theater from the University of Washington (UW). She also studied fiber arts at UW and later received a post-graduate certificate in social media marketing and implementation. She also has an MBA from Loyola College in Baltimore.
“Working and living in large cities and small towns, I’ve always been acutely aware of the importance of the creative sector to the vitality, livability and economic health of a community,” she explained. “The Mad River Valley exemplifies this, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share my skills to champion the arts in my adopted home. This is a challenging time with so many cultural events being canceled and artists suffering financially,” she noted. “But this pause offers a rare moment to reflect on past accomplishments and plan for the future,” she added.