Last year was the first year for Common Ground, a series of community discussions sponsored by the Cleveland Foundation that took place all over the region. Last year’s event brought together more than 2,000 people in 42 locations.
This year nearly 70 conversations are scheduled so far in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties, and the organizers expect that there could be as many as 90. The conversations are sponsored by a range of different organizations, businesses, churches, educational institutions and even individuals who have been attending workshops to learn how to facilitate these discussions. Potential hosts can go online to the Common Ground website and register their events, as well as access materials to help them plan their event. Most take place over three hours during the day.
Each will center around the question “Why does place matter?” to be discussed over a community meal. The website explains, “United by a common question, all Common Ground conversations have the same goal: to create spaces where meaningful connections are made and purposeful actions begin.”
Among the places hosting discussions are the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Baseball Heritage Museum, The Music Settlement, Chateau Hough (where you’ll get to enjoy wine and food pairing and learn about the role CH has played in the neighborhood’s renaissance from CoolCleveland columnist/CH founder Mansfield Frazier), Kamm’s Corners Farmers Market, Lakeland Community College, Tri-C, Cosmic Bobbins at Shaker Square, Ohio City Farm, the Beachland Ballroom, the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, Lakeside Baptist Church in East Cleveland, the Church of the Covenant, and many informal spaces such as the site of a demolished house in the Coventry Village area, believed by some to have been haunted and Lakewood Park Kiwanis Pavilion. A group called Black Cleveland Edition is going to Little Italy’s Alta House to discuss what places black people have been told not to go — and until fairly recently Little Italy was one of them.
To find a conversation or register for one, go here.
For more information about Common Ground, go here