An Important Message from Common Ground's
Founder and Executive Direction
December 13, 2010
I have great news to share with you! Common Ground on the Hill has taken a bold step to help ensure our long term future as a vibrant, sustainable traditional arts organization. We welcome our first-ever Director of Development, Art Menius.
I have known Art for twenty-seven years and watched him develop iconic and powerful traditional arts organizations throughout the United States. The Folk Alliance International, the International Bluegrass Music Association, Merlefest, and Appalshop all bear his stamp. He has worked magic in these arts institutions, and he will work magic with us at Common Ground on the Hill. His ability to identify and win resources is legendary in the world of traditional arts. We are incredibly fortunate to have Art with us. His office is up and running here on the Hill, and we are busy!
As a result of your generous gifts, a solid tuition-driven program and donations from private foundations and the Maryland State Arts Council, Common Ground on the Hill has been able to deliver an ongoing and financially viable traditional arts program for sixteen years. We have watched a new generation of Common Ground students take up our work. As we look to the future, we know that it is time to redouble our efforts and cement our future so that following generations will be able to take part in the Common Ground on the Hill experience. This is our transformative moment. Now is the time for us to write our name in stone together.
We need your help now. We know that within sixteen months, Art’s development and fundraising work will yield great results. In the interim, we must redouble our fundraising efforts among ourselves. In order to afford this, our first full-time salaried position, I am asking you to join me and the members of our Board in increasing your annual gift to Common Ground on the Hill. By doing so, you will be part of the community that launches the work of Common Ground on the Hill into future generations.
Where Are We Now
Last season, we celebrated our 16th Anniversary Year of Common Ground on the Hill programming. Think of it – our community has enjoyed sixteen years of traditional music, art, dance, concerts, festivals, workshops and classes! Not just another traditional arts summer camp, Common Ground on the Hill continues to set the standard in maintaining a diverse student and instructor population. Our student body reflects a world of hopeful participants– migrant workers, at-risk inner city and rural Appalachian students, inspired school teachers, single parents and their children, students with disabilities, and students from war-torn countries. The Common Ground Roots Music and Arts Festival celebrated its 14th Anniversary and continues to be one of the Middle Atlantic’s quality events. We are excited to announce that we are now the presenter of the venerable Deer Creek Fiddlers’ Convention at the Carroll County Farm Museum. Our monthly multicultural concert series at the Carroll Arts Centeris in its eighth year, and continues to draw capacity crowds. Our Zepp Center for Nonviolence and Peace Education maintains a year-round presence in our immediate community, the Middle Atlantic region, and leads yearly Civil Rights tours to the Deep South. This summer, our affiliate, Common Ground Scotland, enters its tenth year of programming.
Where Are We Headed
As we enter our 17th year, we can be certain that the need for the traditional arts in our lives is greater than ever. While we despair about the dangerous, complex and angry world in which we live, we also know that we can continue to choose to participate in an artistic, positive community that builds bridges among people, creating good news. Common Ground’s programs require time, resources and a lot of hard work to make them a reality. Our diverse student and instructor population is directly related to and dependent upon the gifts that you make to Common Ground on the Hill. Last year nearly 25% of the individuals attending Common Ground received scholarships, thanks to you.Cultural diversity at Common Ground on the Hill is the direct result of your gifts.
What Do You Need to Do
If we are to continue our work and programming, we must continue to exceed our growing annual budgetary needs in the face of a struggling economy. There are three ways you can help to do this:
v First, you can commit now to returning to Common Ground next July.
v Second, you can recruit others to attend Common Ground, enroll in classes, attend concerts, volunteer.
v Third and most importantly at this crucial time in our fiscal year, you can support Common Ground with your tax-deductible gifts. Please give what you can.
Welcome Art Menius to our visionary work.And mark your calendars now to be with us this summer, at our concerts, and at the Deer Creek Fiddlers’ Convention!
To donate now, click here.
Walt Michael, Executive Director