Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill, a prominent and long-established organization located in an area known for sustaining a vibrant arts community for more than a century, searched for a consultant service that could help it meet a long-term challenge to strengthen sustainable operations and to pursue a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to acquire a 12-acre multi-million dollar property with unparalleled natural beauty and historic buildings perfect for their training and residency programs.
Castle Hill had a solid program, a willing and enthusiastic Board, had cooperative Town officials, conservation partners, and seller, and had clear goals: to develop a long-term vision, to set a new foundation for a sustainable future, and to acquire this property within the limited window of opportunity if possible. But Castle Hill also had unique Board structures and a powerful culture in which dozens of stakeholders expected and wanted to be actively involved in a process that at the same time required surgical delivery. This required a consultant with the capacity to build trust and collaborative relationships quickly and confidently and to develop a communications strategy that would work for this unique member organization. Added to this, Castle Hill needed a consultant familiar with business development, able to develop a strategic plan for the coming 5 to 7 years, skilled in developing fundraising feasibility studies, able to execute a capital campaign, and with the communications skills and adaptability to work with leadership, members, and potential funding partners.
Songmasters was able to work with Castle Hill’s leadership to complete a thorough feasibility study and a five-year strategic plan that included the timing, costs and processes of renovating the property’s historic structures, if acquired. These processes were also integrated into a Board study and capital fundraising program that acquired sufficient financial pledges to meet the needed funds for acquisitions costs of the property.
These reports and pledged funds were also the basis upon which the Massachusetts Cultural Arts Council awarded its largest grant that year to complete the required funding to acquire the property and implement the strategic plan. Town Community Preservation funds were also mad available for historic preservation of key buildings. Equally important, the Castle Hill Board and community weathered an entirely new process, often cliff-hanging because of the many moving parts related to acquisition, to emerge stronger, more cohesive, and greatly energized by the promising future they were able to co-create with a bit of help from Songmasters.
Since then, under its own great leadership at the Board and administrative levels, Castle Hill has established its new “Edgewood” facility, created varied and successful programming incorporating Edgewood, and largely implemented the Strategic Plan developed by Songmasters.