Community to Pay Tribute to ‘Common Ground’ Sculpture at Dec. 5 Farewell

Eileen Keeley enjoying Common Ground sculpture

College Photographer Chris Record captured VP of College Relations Eileen Keeley enjoying the sculpture. Lisa Forrest’s son, Oakes, rounds the corner in his bright orange jacket. Forrest, who is Davidson’s library director, submitted the photo.

When students go away for the winter break, so will the beloved Common Ground sculpture.


Join Us for a Farewell Party

The sculpture was a team effort made by Patrick Dougherty in collaboration with his son Sam, and more than 100 students, faculty, staff and community members in February 2020. Constructed just weeks before COVID-19 sent everyone home, the piece became a place of solace for the entire community during a challenging time.

Part of Dougherty’s vision is that his artworks are not permanent. Over time, the materials become more fragile and dry, and eventually must be returned to the earth. Typically, the works last about two years. We're thrilled that we could keep Common Ground on campus for almost three years, but unfortunately, it is now time to say goodbye!

Join us from 4 to 5:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 5, to enjoy the sculpture one last time, with some warm drinks, s'mores, music, and a craft using parts of the sculpture.

I was part of planning and placement of the piece. When I was first briefed on this project, I knew that the construction would engage the community through Patrick’s plan of group harvesting and group construction. I confess that I did not see that community engagement with the piece would continue with such passion post-construction, during its life with us. For me, Common Ground took me back to days of building forts in the woods, and I couldn’t help but enter it each time I happened by.

David Holthouser, Director of Facilities and Engineering
Artist Malú Alvarez ’02 in front of Common Ground sculpture
Student walking through Patrick Dougherty sculpture

Common Ground is the best sculpture I've ever seen, and it was especially fun to play there.

Finn Fouché, age 10, participated in the build

Creating the Common Ground sculpture brought the Davidson community together around foundational elements of our shared humanity–the natural world, hard work, teaching and learning, and creative expression. Returning the materials to the earth with reverence, in community, powerfully models the ethic we can and should pursue in other endeavors.

Yancey Fouché, Director of Sustainability


  • December 2, 2022