Search for Common Ground

Class Details

Search for Common Ground

The flagship class of Traditions Weeks. In an atmosphere of trust and safety, and inspired by song and story, we will listen to and learn from the voices of our sisters and brothers from communities represented in our circle.

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In this, our flagship class, we draw from our experience as artists and human beings to have a dialog arising from our life together here and in the larger society. In an atmosphere of trust and safety, and inspired by song, images and story, we will listen to and learn from the voices of our sisters and brothers from communities represented in our circle. We gather at Common Ground on the Hill in our twenty-eighth summer in the midst of a world experiencing a three-year pandemic, financial and ecological crises, wars, climate disasters, growing nuclear threats, racial crises, the continued unveiling of systemic abuse, issues of immigration, the omnipresent threat of terror both foreign and domestic, and divisive politics. Yet, we also find ourselves at a time of potential for great, needed change. We shall discuss and consider what we are doing, as artists and individuals, to bring about the changes and create the communities that we desire. To inspire us and help focus our dialog, we will learn of the work of some of those in our circle.

Join the conversation! Click HERE.

Traditions Week 1 Speakers:

  • Monday, June 27th – Charles Collyer, PhD, will illuminate the work of the Zepp Center for Peace and nonviolence Education with Silver Oak Academy in nearby Keymar, Maryland.
  • Tuesday, June 28th – Peter Michael, founder and publisher of Underground Railroad Free Press North America's leading Underground Railroad news publication, will revisit his Monday evening keynote address and further explore the relevance of the UGRR in today’s world.
  • Wednesday, June 29th – Rev. Randy Mayer of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Sahuarita, Arizona will bring us up to date on the work of the Green Valley Samaritans and the plight of immigrants and asylum seekers in the borderlands.
  • Thursday, June 30th - TBA.
  • Friday , July 1st - Ellen Elmes will show and discuss a myriad of her paintings, murals and writings that have built community from Appalachia to Scotland to Texas, underscoring the importance of art in our live

Traditions Week 2 Speakers:

  • Monday, July 4th - Robert Pullen & Sakim will refer to their week-long class, teaching about dreams in Mvskoke/Creek culture and learning how to draw meaning from dreams for personal and collective growth.
  • Tuesday, July 5th – Andrew Reiner will revisit and discuss his Monday evening keynote lecture Masculinity is at a Crossroads: Why That Matters for All of Us.
  • Wednesday, July 6th - Elsie Wong will discuss her lifelong journey as a second-generation Chinese American, earning a Master’s in Education and an HR career at the University of Maryland in a Baltimore that languished in the wake of the Chinese Exclusion Act.
  • Thursday, July 7th - John Bishop, husband of the late Glenys Carl, author, artist and humanitarian will explore her lifelong journey to the ultimate creation of Scott’s House, a loving hospice facility in Santa Fe.
  • Friday, July 8th - Madeleine Mysko, award winning novelist, poet and teacher, will discuss her work, including her service as a nurse during the Vietnam War on the burn ward at Brooke Army Medical Center and her membership in Veterans for Peace.

Traditions Week 3 Speakers:

  • Monday, July 11th, TBA.
  • Tuesday, July 12th, John Kurc, photographer and filmmaker, will share his personal transformative, journey that led him to his quest for border wall justice. John will be joined by Green Valley Samaritan Randy Mayer.
  • Wednesday, July 13th, Joe Troop, roots musician, Grammy nominee and activist, will bear witness to the fact that “...all the world is a stage.” Artivism as a terminology emerged in the 1990s but the notion of art meets activism has long been at the center of folk music traditions.
  • Thursday, July 14th - Anita Fields, 2021 NEA National Heritage Fellow, will explore her works of clay and textile that reflect the worldview of her Native Osage culture. Her practice explores the complexities of cultural influences and the intersections of balance and chaos found within our lives.
  • Friday, July 15th - Vets Initiative – Josh Hisle (USMC), Holly Rowan (USMC) and Dan Collins (filmmaker) will discuss the ongoing transformative work of the Common Ground on the Hill Veterans Initiative, with a special emphasis on women in the military.


Something For Everyone

Schedule a week or two, or three! Or, just sprinkle some classes in between other commitments.

Week 1

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Week 3

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