In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge pressed the button that would light the first National Christmas Tree. Since that time, this tradition has continued and grown to include a national celebration. In addition, smaller live trees representing the 50 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia, form a Pathway of Peace.


Each year, the National Parks Foundation asks each state to create 12 ornaments that will represent their State on their designated tree. Borderless Arts Tennessee (formerly VSA TN) was honored to coordinate this effort in partnership with the Tennessee Arts Commission, Tennessee School for the Blind and Middle Tennessee State University.

Certificates for each participant were provided by Rep. Dawn White.  First Lady Crissy Haslam prepared personal notes of thanks for each participant.

The ornaments were created under the artistic direction of Yvette Cowden of Hendersonville on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University on Wednesday, Oct. 18. Six students from the Tennessee School for the Blind and six members of Borderless Arts Tennessee’s Teapot Diplomat program created teapot themed ornaments with the assistance of MTSU students.

The teapot theme was selected due to a new program of Borderless Arts Tennessee, called Teapot Diplomats. This program teaches individuals with disabilities new art techniques and then encourages them to use the products created to raise awareness of the talents and abilities of people with disabilities.

Photo of Morgan Vice a Teapot Diplomat Member from Hendersonville