Estelle Condra was an unforgettable force of nature. She lived life to its fullest while touching the lives of all of those around her with joy and love. Although she lost her sight, she never lost her vision of how the arts could impact lives. She was a champion of the arts, especially arts education. She was a champion of Borderless Arts TN. Therefore, when Borderless Arts Tennessee decided to embark on a 3-year arts education initiative, it was only fitting that it should be named in honor and remembrance to this dynamic woman.

This past year, Borderless Arts has been completing 14 unique artist residencies.

While the 3-year pilot program is working with 3 elementary schools (Barlett Elementary in West TN, Union Elementary in Middle TN and Norris Elementary in East TN), there were also a couple of extra residencies that went to Edison in Gallatin TN.

Each of the 3 pilot schools received 4 residencies to include dance, literature, music and visual arts. The residencies reached every student in the 3rd grade through a theme of water. The residencies are focused on enhancing literary, math and science skills and testing scores through a joy of learning. The residencies are also using the arts to level the education field to provide adaptive methods for students with and without disabilities to learn side by side and to express their educational understandings in the most appropriate manner for that student.

At the end of each academic year, the schools will share what they have learned through a digital learning day in May. In addition, the students are participating in the annual Borderless Arts TN Water Warriors event in April.

We are considering adding a community and/or international component next year.

Data is being collected from all of the residencies for the next 3 years with the intent on creating a research article for publication and presentation. We are also collecting all lesson plans for a curriculum guide to be shared with any school that may wish to have this information.

Special thanks to our education partners: Bartlett Elementary, Norris Elementary and Union Elementary.

Thanks to our teaching artists: Carlos Calderon (visual arts), Amanda Galbraith (literature and visual arts), Brooke Hammond (visual arts), Jennifer James (dance), Les Kerr (literature and music), Tammy Vice (literature and music), and Erin Walter (dance).

Thanks to our funding supporters: Christian Kissinger, David Condra, International Paper, Lana Seivers, META Gallatin, Public Consulting Group, Tennessee Arts Commission.

Thanks to our research team: Brad Foust, Amanda Galbraith and Lana Seivers