Common Ground on the Hill Maryland’s newest Folklife Center

Common Ground on the Hill, home of many annual camps and workshops focusing on traditional arts and music, has been named as one of three new regional folklife centers by the Maryland State Arts Council. With this designation, they become the Mid-State Folklife Center for Carroll, Frederick, and Howard counties in Maryland.

Being named a Folklife Center comes with a mandate to “identify, discover, and include more local traditions and tradition-bearers as well as to document, archive, and promote those traditions and participants.”

In a press release announcing the news, Common Ground Director of Promotions, Maria Wong, states…

“Included in its work as the Mid-State Folklife Center, Common Ground plans to continue to feature the music of the African American churches in the Mid-Maryland region and will launch an initiative to conduct filmed interviews with tradition bearers of that community. The organization will continue its long-standing work with local immigrant communities to feature and document the art, craft, dance, foodways and music found in their various specific cultures, as well as their stories of immigration and retained traditions. Common Ground also plans to discover, examine and illuminate the traditions of the long-time agrarian farming community in our region.”

They will, of course, continue to host the events of interest to Bluegrass Today readers, including the Acoustic Roots Songwriting Contest, DCBU Bluegrass & Old Time Camp, Deer Creek Fiddlers Convention, Roots Music and Arts Festival, and monthly concerts in both Baltimore and Westminster.

Founder and Executive Director of Common Ground on the Hill, Walt Michael, says that they deeply appreciate this designation.

“We are excited and honored to be named the Mid-State Folklife Center in this our 26th year. For a quarter of a century we have worked tirelessly to shine a light on the folk arts in our region, encouraging everyone to engage in and encounter the richness of our shared traditions. While we have brought stellar traditional artists from around the world to our region, we have always believed that local artists and traditions are the bedrock and inspiration of our work. We are lucky to be rooted in Maryland, a state that fervently values and supports the traditional arts.”

You can learn more about the great work done by this terrific non-profit organization online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.