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Borderless Arts Tennessee is a statewide organization committed to inclusive and accessible arts programs for people with disabilities to enhance educational curriculum, enrich creative expression, empower career development, and encourage community engagement.


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Funding to design this site provided through a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission.

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Featured News & Events




International Day of Persons With Disabilities

A Project of the United Nations

Presented by:  Borderless Arts Tennessee

In Partnership with

Project 22, Sign Club and Sumner County Tourism

Tuesday, December 3, 2019


Sumner County Tourism

2310 Nashville Pike, Gallatin TN 37066

 On December 3rd, Borderless Arts Tennessee will join organizations around the globe in celebrating a United Nations event, International Day of Persons with Disabilities.  The International Day celebration will include music, art exhibits, refreshments and an art activities all of which is free and open to the public.

“This is a special day for Borderless Arts because it allows us to be thankful for the talents of all people.  We are grateful to our artists and community partners who work with us throughout the year in bringing out the unique qualities of each and every one of our participants,” says Lori Kissinger, Executive Director of Borderless Arts TN. “We are especially excited about this year’s celebration because there will be digital and original art from the various international art exchanges that Borderless Arts conducted throughout the year.  This year we are honored to state that EVERY continent has representation in at least one art exchange.”


Awards presentation to the following:

Community Partner: Green Village Recycling and Sustainability participation in Water Warriors

International Day Partner: Project 22

International Day Partner: Sumner County Tourism

International Day Partner of the Year: Alfan Alkhas

International Resource: Steve Sherman, LivingMaths of South Africa

Teacher of the Year: Monica Leister, Tennessee School for the Blind



Antarctica (Donnie Piercey National Geographic Fellow and 5th grade teacher/ Teapot Diplomats and MTSU Students under the direction of Jen Vogus)  – Donnie provided photos representing “Sounds of Life” in Antarctica while the Teapot Diplomats took photos of “Sounds of Life” on a college campus.

Australia (Melissa Lobegeier a paleontologist from Australia who is currently an Associate Professor in the Geosciences Department at MTSU and Peer Place with Teapot Diplomats under the direction of Lauren Maheu). Melissa provided photos of dinosaur bones.  Borderless Arts created art on canvas art dinosaurs.  The Borderless Arts art will also be also be on display at the Dinosaur National Monument.

Canada (Indefinite Arts in Canada / Teapot Diplomats under the direction of Carlos Calderon as an International Certification project of Austin King) – Both groups created art with an endangered species theme.

Egypt (Alfan Alkhas/ Peer Place and Teapot Diplomats under the direction of Lori Kissinger) – Both groups created sounds of celebration.

Ethiopia (Peace Corp Group with Asha Patel/ Peer Place with Teapot Diplomats under the direction of Lori Kissinger) – Ethiopia sent drawings of favorite local animals and some typical art styles of Ethiopian art.  Borderless Arts created petroglyph type art of local animals.

Germany (Christine Rockitensky) / Teapot Diplomats) – Christine sent knitted socks and Teapot Diplomats will make St Nickolas Stockings at the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Greece (Association of Parents and Guardians of People with Intellectual Disabilities under the direction of Dr. Ioannis Makris/Project 22 & Teapot Diplomats under the direction of Jen Vogus) –  Greece sent a video of their inclusive orchestra being conducted by Dr. Makris and they also send drawings.  Jen Vogus worked with Project 22 & Teapot Diplomats to create abstract photos of musical instruments.

Japan (Corners/ Teapot Diplomats technique under the direction of Kathy Plourde as an International Certification project of Hope McKee) Both groups created art using a Japanese paper technique called Chigiri-e.

Venezuela (Auriangel Sinai Duarte Pérez, a violinist from Venezuela/Greeneville TN Middle School residency under the direction of Bailey Earith) – Bailey worked with students to make musical instruments in a South American style.  Auriangel skyped into the classroom and performed on her violin as the students performed along with her using their new instruments.  


Music Performances will feature:

Project 22 Choir

Maggie Perry (Borderless Arts Young Soloist and Teapot Diplomat) in cooperation with the Sign Choir under the Artistic Direction of Andrea Baker

Eric Mather Burks (Young Soloist and Dulcimer Choir participant)


History for Borderless Arts’ Involvement in International Day of Persons with Disabilities

In 2015, Borderless Arts became involved in international art exchanges due to the fact that the organization was coordinating 40 days of international art exchanges in celebration of the 40th anniversary of VSA.  This is also the year that the organization coordinated the creation of the quilt that had quilt squares from nearly every State and from countries all over the world.  The quilt was accepted into the US Department of Education’s Art in Embassies program and will tour US Embassies around the world forever.

The participants of Borderless Arts expressed an interest in continuing these international exchanges.  The exchanges provided an opportunity to learn about other cultures, have our art represented in other cultures, and demonstrate that art is borderless. It was at this same time that the visual arts Teapot Diplomat art program was formed. 

The initial Teapot Diplomat program was funded as a pilot program through the Tennessee Arts Commission.  Mark and Niki Antonini graciously offered to fund this program after its initial pilot stage.  Since that time with the support of the Antoninis, the program has offered nearly weekly art projects, a certification program, and has art represented all over the world.  Although the program does more than just international art exchanges, it does have this component as part of its mission. The accomplishments of this program and its participants are numerous and noteworthy.

In June 2020, members of the Teapot Diplomats will travel to New York City and participate in a briefing at the United Nations where they will share information on their international work.   They will also create a piece of art under the artistic direction of Lauren Rudd of the Human Sciences Department at MTSU that will represent the various international art projects.  Lauren was the Artistic Director of the quilt project in 2015.














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