Creativity to Community: Arts Nonprofit Success One Coffee at a Time is both an inspiring and practical guide for anyone who values the role of art in their community. Written by Dr. Matthew Hinsley, a successful arts administrator who managed the growth of an arts nonprofit from its infancy to become the largest of its kind in America, Creativity to Community is an approachable yet detailed guide that addresses the most important issues facing community arts organization leaders.
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By William Ash
May 29, 2011
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.
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... More > arts.< Less
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 LULU.com 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... More > 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.< Less
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!
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.
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