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2017 PUBLIC CITIZEN OF THE YEAR Awarded to Matthew Hinsley

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 17, 2017
MATTHEW HINSLEY, DMA The Public Citizen of the Year Award honors an outstanding member of the community whose accomplishments exemplify the values and mission of the profession of social work and who has acted with courage to make significant contribution to an area or population of concern to the social work profession such as: at-risk or vulnerable populations, quality of life in communities, or social issues. Matthew Hinsley is this year’s Public Citizen of the Year award winner. The author of Creativity to Community: Arts Nonprofit Success One Coffee at a Time, Dr. Hinsley has served as the Executive Director of Austin Classical Guitar (ACG) in Austin, Texas since 2002. Under his leadership, ACG has worked in partnership with Austin Independent School District (AISD) to provide classroom-based, for-credit classical guitar programs now serving 4,000 students in over 50 schools throughout Austin. ACG has helped build hundreds more educational programs throughout Texas, the United States and beyond from Nicaragua to Nepal. In 2010, ACG developed a braille-adapted version of its nationally-recognized classroom guitar curriculum for use at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. ACG also partners with Gardner Betts Juvenile Justice Center, People’s Community Clinic, Annunciation Maternity Home, Travis County Jail, and Any Baby Can to provide engagement and education opportunities for the people they serve. Dr. Hinsley’s work demonstrates the value of building human relationships through the power of music. Using ACG as an agent for social change, Dr. Hinsley’s community engagement approach provides opportunities for many musicians to use their talents to enhance the lives of others. An example is the Lullaby Project, a program that brings together musicians with new moms facing challenging circumstances to create original lullabies for their babies, encouraging reflection and strengthening the connection between the mother and her child. Under Dr. Hinsley’s leadership, ACG’s educational programs achieve more than teaching basic guitar skills. They build confidence, self-respect, and a sense of purpose among the students who participate. Anyone who attends a public performance by the students in ACG’s guitar classes for incarcerated youth at the Gardner Betts Juvenile Justice Center witnesses the poise and professionalism of the young people involved in the program, and the look of pride on their faces when they receive a standing ovation at the end of their concert. Dr. Hinsley and Austin Classical Guitar have been featured on PBS NewsHour, and were the subject of a documentary produced by KLRU as part of their Arts in Context series. Dr. Hinsley was the recipient of the 2015 Austin Under 40 award for Arts and Entertainment, was recognized by the Texas Legislature in 2013, and was the recipient of the Nonprofit Alliance Award in 2011. Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell declared Matthew Hinsley & Austin Classical Guitar Day in 2010. It is an honor to present Dr. Matthew Hinsley with the Public Citizen of the Year award, for his work STANDING UP! for effective community engagement, transforming doubt into hope, and creating sustainable change for at-risk youth through music!

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