Common Ground on the Hill

CGOTH LogoCommon Ground on the Hill (CGOTH) is a multicultural community of "musicians, artists, writers, lecturers, actors, and dancers" ( In residence at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland, CGOTH has been a strong presence in traditional arts since 1994. The organization was founded on the premise that "there is a common human thread unifying all people expressed in our various artistic traditions." The organization makes its goal to make that thread "a path towards human understanding, tolerance, fulfillment, and enjoyment" (

CGOTH 2007 Gospel ChoirCommunity members often attend Traditions Weeks classes in the traditional arts and the Roots Music and Arts Festival held every July, as well as the concert series throughout the rest of the year. The program draws students, faculty, and concert and festival-goers from a national and international audience. As such, the community is spread across the world, connected by a shared identity and the internet. Community members come from every continent and from diverse ethnic backgrounds. It is therefore not unusual to observe interactions CGOTH 2007 Young and Oldbetween, for example, Swedish musicians, Native American elders, African-Americans dancers, and Iraqi musicians.

The Dugout Canoe Project drew many individuals from this community together. The narrators in the film were faculty during the 2010 CGOTH gathering. In addition, many others not featured in the film were involved. Children and young teenagers from CGOTHs World Village program interacted with the project as part of their program. The shaded physical location of the canoe building, which took place at the western edge of the McDaniel College campus, became a refuge from the fierce and damp July heat for students and faculty from across the CGOTH program. A number of interdisciplinary and cross-cultural conversations began there.

CGOTH 2007 DanceWe look forward to seeing how the Dugout Canoe Project will continue to affect the individuals involved in it during the 2011 CGOTH gathering. For more information on Common Ground on the Hill, please go to

Images courtesy of Ken Koons, the Carroll County Times, and Common Ground on the Hill.