Reviews of my book: Creativity to Community

5/30/2011 Monday 11:53 am

I just went online to my lulu author page and was overjoyed to see some really nice feedback I’d like to share!

From William Ash:

This book by Matt Hinsley has all the earmarks of a classic. It is unique in providing important information of how to effectively do what non-profits should be doing, and why we do it. It promotes an enthusiastically positive view of the important role of the NPAO in bring artists and community together. And it is a reflection of Matt’s amazing talent and personal commitment, as he documents how he has brought vision and enthusiasm for a his projects to other community leaders, inspiring others to join him in creating great events and community support for the arts. There is a most-welcome practicality here, grounded in Matt’s personal experience. It is also the most inspiring book about the arts I have ever read. I hope it will be read by administrators throughout the world of the performing arts.

From Steve Roberts:

Dr. Hinsley’s book “Creativity to Community—Arts Nonprofit Success One Coffee at a Time” is packed full of important ideas, excellent examples and stories of success (and failure) and tips on everything from selecting a Board of Directors, Strategic Planning, and Raising Money to working with the media. As an officer in a small NPAO, I will be recommending this book to my entire Board of Directors and our volunteers to help us get more organized, get more efficient and prioritize our work so we focus on the most important things first. I know I will save my NPAO more time and money than 300 books cost in my first year of putting Dr. Hinsley’s suggestions to work. I am certain that Austin, Texas is a great music city due in large part to people like Dr. Hinsley.

From Tom Echols:

While “Creativity to Community” is aimed at nonprofit arts organizations, I think that Dr. Hinsley’s book should be read by all professional classical musicians. Reading this book has given me a glimpse into what really goes on inside NPAOs, and this is invaluable for any artist who hopes to be hired by or to collaborate with this important part of our community. At the same time, there are many subjects covered here that apply to performing artists as well as to NPAOs: the chapters called “the importance of writing and public speaking”, “Publicity and the Media”, and “smart programming” all offer great info for any artist who wants to be more effective in reaching her audience. Also, it is great to know that Dr. Hinsley practices what he preaches, and that this book is the result of many years working “in the field” with great success!

From Susan Healy:

So, we wake up one morning and realize that we have this 30 year old performing arts organization with six concerts/recitals a year, a very successful youth competition, master classes and school concerts and an occasional US Tour for our artists, located in the Nation’s Capitol. Our Quickbooks shows an annual budget over $100,000, we have lots of good friends and volunteers, a spectacular board of directors and yet we are stressed and close to burn-out! What to do?

We heard about Matt Hinsley’s book, Creativity to Community: Arts Nonprofit Success One Coffee at a Time, ordered it through and read it in one long day. Woah! This is us! We do this, we don’t do this –we have a great database, sell many tickets, but we have no committees, our fundraising is haphazard and it’s become all work and no play. But we love our artists, the music and our friends.

I emailed Matt Hinsley and asked if he might come talk to our board when he’s in our city. He agreed and we convened at the home of one of our board members. Matt uncovered our individual strengths, gave us some thoughts about focusing on our vision, setting up a Strategic Planning Committee and a Development Committee. Total quiet…….until the magic moment occurred….two board members simultaneously asked, “Which committee do you want me to sign up for?” and we were off and running.

Sometimes, it’s just fine tuning that inspires an organization – sometimes it is rerouting, but the tricks of the trade, running a non-profit in the arts world, come in book form and in an invitation to work with its author, Matt Hinsley. Matt has experience running a successful non-profit music organization in Austin Texas, has raised over a million dollars in his community and organized a major Festival last year. Yet Matt is a modest and sincere man. Read his book and contact him for meeting with your board – it’s a winner!

Ps. We are ordering one of Matt’s books for each of our board members.

And from Jasin Muffaletto:

If you’ve ever considered starting an arts non-profit organization and felt the slightest bit of uncertainty about your focus or direction, look no further than this book. If you have an existing arts organization and would like answers and straight talk facts to commonly “swept under the rug” topics, LOOK NO FURTHER THAN THIS BOOK.
As of October 2010, the Louisiana Classical Guitar Society has been established and currently operating due in large part to the information, guidance and flat out motivation within the pages of Dr. Matthew Hinsley’s book. From mission statement to mission completion – This book has concise, straight forward, realistic and down to earth examples of just about every situation you are likely to incur in the journey to develop a solid arts organization within your area.
I hope that many more take the wisdom and guidance of this book and shape their cities and states into arts cultures that breath joy and shout praise to their communities through the arts.

When it rains it pours!

5/26/2011 Thursday 9:39 pm

My newest article came out today – this one in American String Teacher, the journal of the American String Teacher Association.  It’s all about classroom guitar education and the activities of ACGS in curriculum development the past 10 years.  It was wonderful to see it in print.

Yesterday, as I mentioned briefly in my last post, I made my guest-blogger debut at Guitar Salon International with a piece on our new innovative concert series in homes.

This morning I heard from our director of communications and development that ACGS events were nominated in 4 of 8 categories for the Austin Critics Table Awards – wow!  All related to our giant festival from last June.

Yesterday we sold out our kick-off dinner at La Sombra on June 6th for our Latin summer series!

Yesterday we sealed the deal for the Miro String Quartet to appear on our massive October 1st Austin Pictures project.  And today I finalized selection of the 10 student artists we’ll be commissioning to paint the original paintings for the project.  What project?  Lessee… It’s our opening night, we’re calling it “Austin Pictures”.  It will take place at the new 2,200 seat ACL Live Theater and be filmed for TV by KLRU.  Our Partners are KLRU along with the Austin Museum of Art, Austin Symphony Orchestra, and the 2nd Street District.  We’re commissioning a new work, called “Austin Pictures” by Joe Williams for massive guitar orchestra and the Miro Quartet to be conducted by Peter Bay.  That will open the show.  Next will be an original, short documentary film about the student artists I mentioned above.  Then Peruvian guitar genius Jorge Caballero will take the stage and perform two selections with the Miro Quartet, and finally, Caballero will perform the acrobatic feat of playing Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” on a single guitar.  It will have to be seen to be believed!

It’s also been a busy week for new engagements.  UT has continuing education programs for retirees and I’ve just been booked to lecture and perform for both Quest and Lamp – and I was asked by the Austin Woman’s Club to do a presentation in mid-July, just one day after I’ll appear for the Austin New Comers Club at Green Pastures!

So much more is going on – but those are a few highlights.

In non-ACGS land: Glenda and I went out to Lake Travis on Sunday to spend 3 days with our friends Mike and Linda and we were joined by my trio partners Steve and Tom.  We had a mini-retreat where we arranged Mahler’s 1st Kindertotenlieder for 2 guitars and voice, as well as Bach’s 1st keyboard Partita for guitar trio!  I’m super-excited because these are two of my favorite works of all time and to able to commune with them as an artist is a dream come true!  We’re also taking a mini-vacation next week when we’ll head out to Arizona to see my dad for a few days.  Can’t wait.

My guest blogging debut!

5/25/2011 Wednesday 2:37 pm

I’ve been asked by my friend Kai Narezo at Guitar Salon International to begin writing a new blog column called “Reaching Out”.  My first article was just published and I’ll shoot for about one per week!

Check it out!

5 Shows: Flamenco, Jazz, Miro, Cactus & Guitar Salon!

5/15/2011 Sunday 9:42 pm

Whew!  What a week.  Last weekend we saw three shows in a 24 hour period.  Then this week was the final spring concerts for both our Classical Cactus Series and our Austin Guitar Salon Series.  Life is most definitely good!

I met Juanito Pascual in Boston in February when I was up there with Eliot Fisk doing an address and workshop on nonprof stuff for him at NEC. Juanito is a fine flamenco player who writes really beautiful and inventive music. When we met in Boston he told me he had a May 7 gig in Austin at this marvelous East Austin venue called Esquina Tango. I'm so glad Glenda and I were able to go. We saw a whole bunch of friends there, were treated to a magnificent environment, and a phenomenal performance. Juanito may just have to come back to Austin soon...

The next morning - Sunday the 8th - we met our friends Mike and Linda for Sunday Jazz brunch at the Highball. It was Mike and Linda's 22nd anniversary! incidentally, the Highball is owned by our friends Tim and Karrie League - who also own Alamo Drafthouse - in the Highball they have created an amazing venue for food and entertainment with a ball room, bowling allies, private karaoke rooms... you get the idea.

...and performing for the Jazz Brunch? The Jeff Lofton trio. This was fun, because I had just met Jeff (playing trumpet in this photo) two days earlier when we played at the convention center for the Austin Convention and Visitor's Bureau annual luncheon celebrating Austin's 20th year as the "Live Music Capital of the World". Jeff is fantastic.

Last Sunday was a huge day because it was the final performance of the Miro Quartet with Sandy Yamamoto as 2nd violinist. 15 years! I went to college with Daniel who is Sandy's husband and the quartet's 1st violinist. I also went to college with the cellist - Josh Gindele. So we know the group extremely well, and this was a beautiful, magical, and bittersweet performance indeed! Sandy and Daniel have two beautiful children and this decision has been made so she can spend time with them. I've never been able to figure out how they do what they do (traveling and playing in major venues on different continents near-weekly) even without kids! The concert was stunning. In this pic, Sandy was giving an emotional address to the audience before they played their final selection - by Haydn.

After the Miro concert we spent a long time at a dinner honoring Sandy. Here Daniel and the Quartet are presenting her with a certificate of some kind! It seemed almost everyone in the arts community was there including some of Austin's most important and generous arts patrons: Jeff and Gail Kodosky, Sarah and Ernest Butler, and Joe and Terry Long. We sat with Jeff and Gail, actually, along with my mentor Adam Holzman and his wife Carolyn, and we enjoyed a delicious dinner and a rousing round a stories and conversation... almost all about food!

On Thursday night we presented our final "Classical Cactus" event of the season. Our shows have been, I'll say, "wildly" popular. On Thursday we had about 135 in a venue that seats only 115. When I got up on stage between acts and asked the audience if this is something we should keep doing in the fall, the applause was phenomenal. In this pic you see Thai guitarist, and UT graduating masters student, YK. He was followed by the Texas Guitar Quartet. The Cactus shows are casual yet the artistry is great, and I think we've hit on a powerful formula indeed.

And now on to last night... here's a shot of Kendal Antonelli (left) and Jacqui Schraad. Kendal is co-owner, with John, of Antonelli's Cheese Shop. Jacqui is Executive Director of the Heritage Society of Austin. I asked them both last fall if they would partner with me (ACGS) and Twin Liquors to do intimate concerts in historic homes with wine and cheese receptions... and they said yes! Thank you so much Kendal and Jacqui, here's to three, fabulous, sold out "Austin Guitar Salon" events!

And here's the performance from last night. The Texas Guitar Quartet was phenomenal. They are, from left to right: Joe Williams, Alejandro Montiel, Jonathan Dotson, and Isaac Bustos. The crowd was ecstatic and jumped to their feet after the last piece, and after the encore as well. Austin Guitar Salon and Classical Cactus have both been amazing and positive experiments in moving our series offerings into "new spaces" both figuratively and literally!

Much, much more happened last week – including an article about our Classical Cactus Series Tuesday on the cover of the Statesman’s Life and Arts section, major developments on our education curriculum and training plans, a Thursday Board Meeting, and the launch of our new Latin Summer Series we’re calling “Pasion”.  But more on all of that some other time.


5/7/2011 Saturday 11:00 am

What an exciting few weeks it’s been.  The concert season mostly ended in April – through we have one more Classical Cactus Event and one more Austin Guitar Salon event each next week.  Then we’re off for major events until the summer series begins in June.  April was exciting with all of the travel and workshops and performing.  And these early weeks of May seemed like a good opportunity to slow down a bit.  Boy was I mistaken.  At some point in the middle of the week before last I realized that every single day for two weeks straight had (has) a lunch appointment scheduled and, in most cases, a bunch of other things as well!

Lunches this past week for example: Monday, Steve Golab, owner of web development firm FG Squared to talk about their sponsorship of our Austin Pictures Project; Tuesday, Jeff Kodosky, co-founder of National Instruments for our annual lunch together; Wednesday, 5-way lunch with Austin Museum of Art to discuss Austin Pictures partnership; Thursday, Tammy Hale, Director of International Philanthropic membership organization L3; Friday, performed at Annual Convention Center luncheon for 600+ for tourism industry. We also had a guest in town from the east coast observing our education program Monday and Tuesday, and on Wednesday morning I had a great meeting with Julie Sutton-McGurk, Retail Marketing Manager of the AMLI 2nd Street District in Austin to talk about their partnership for Austin Pictures.  Oh, and speaking of Austin Pictures – Austin Symphony Orchestra’s conductor Peter bay has agreed to conduct the opening guitar ensemble portion of the program!  This is huge.

Next week lunch’ll be with John Henry McDonald, owner and founder of Austin Asset Management Company on Monday; Megan Crigger, the new director of the City of Austin’s Cultural Arts Program; Jose Ortiz to talk about building nonprof organizations, our May Board meeting, and then Dr. Kim Perlak – guitarist and dear friend – to catch up a bit!

So it all boils down to development right now.  We’re between major programming and that is giving us the opportunity to reach out, catch up, and make plans.  We sent about 100 Education progress reports this week to various current and prospective supporters of our education program, and we’re busy promoting our Latin summer series.  The new brochures will be mailed to about 4,000 this week, and we’ll get very busy carrying out an extensive targeted marketing campaign in the coming weeks.

This shot is actually from two Saturdays ago - the night before I headed out to south Texas. That's Tim League down there, in his back yard in front of a giant movie screen. Tim and his wife Karrie own the Alamo Drafthouse and we were over to watch the Italian classic "The Bicycle Thief" accompanied by a delicious Italian Feast!

Last Sunday was the debut of my new trio with Steve Kostelnik and Tom Echols. Our working title is Lyriko. Here we are tuning back stage of Dell Hall at the Long Center where we performed, for the first time in public, last Sunday afternoon!

Here's a shot from yesterday morning of the various musicians performing at the convention center. What a bunch. Luminaries like Sarah Hickman (center, seated), David Garza (standing left) and many more amazing people.

And here's a shot from last night, if you believe it! This is from my studio recital! 23 kids played, and played beautifully. I've got 5-10 more young ones that didn't play and about 10-15 adults I teach as well. The studio is recital is one of my favorite nights of the year.