Formerly VSA TN.
Setting the Stage For Everyone’s Artistic Talents
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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Borderless Arts Tennessee is honored to announce that we have been selected for the Governor’s Arts Award in Arts Leadership. The Governor’s Arts Awards are the highest arts honors available in the State of Tennessee. The list of past recipients is a distinguished list of Who’s Who of artists, patrons, and arts organizations. In a State such as Tennessee, the pool of those who stand out in the arts is large and deep. For a small organization such as Borderless Arts Tennessee to emerge as a recipient of the Arts Leadership Award, is definitely a Cinderella Story.
This little organization produces numerous programs year after year in dance, music, theater and visual arts for people of all ages and of all abilities. It has seen a Young Soloist win the highest award with the International Young Soloist Award, produced a piece of art that is considered part of America’s cultural heritage, connected people from every continent on the globe, and reached for the stars as some of our art is preparing to launch into space. These accomplishments only merely scratch the surface of this organization’s achievements. Our size has been small, but our dreams have been big.
At such a moment, there are many people that need to take a bow. It begins with our Board of Directors. These are the hidden faces that no one sees. They are volunteers that serve as the backbone of the organization providing guidance, support, and networking. The current Board includes: Irene Williams (President), Christian Kissinger (Vice President), Holland Hendley (Treasurer), Shannon Pargin (Secretary). Board Members: Robbie Ammons, Daisy Casey, Estelle Condra, Michael Collins, Kelley Crecelius, Everett James, Sharon Kay, Ann Krafft, Mike Mitchell, Susan Moss, Alanna Rosen, Mike Ryckeley, Lana Seivers, Emmalie Tur and Cynthia Watkins. Of course we thank all of those past Board members in leading us to this point. A special note of thanks to Len Assante who was our very first Board President and to Mark Henry and Mark Holcomb whose tenure with the Board was particularly significant.
The heart of our organization is our talented teaching artists. It is the artistic and teaching skills of these individuals that has set our programs apart. We have had the pleasure of working with so many artists through the years, but here is a list of those that we work with the most often and/or that have produced some of our top projects in the past: Moon Bishop, Ray Boone, Alison Brazil, Carlos Calderon, Danielle Clement, Deanne Collins, Yvette Cowden, Bailey Earith, Jennie Harriman, Jennifer James, Samantha Kaviuakone, Les Kerr, Dee Kimbrell, Monica Leister, Joe Loesch, Danielle McDaniel (the Clay Lady), Mollie Kuhler, Kathy Plourde, Sarah McWhirt-Toler, Amy Beth Rice, Lauren Rudd, Amy Smart, Bob Stagner, Debra Tayloe, Betty Turney-Turner, Tammy Vice, Jen Vogus.
Our financial supporters have been the lifeblood of our organization. Nearly all of our contributions funnel directly into programs. Due to good fiscal policies, we have managed to operate for the past 20 years without ever having a deficit fiscal year. None of this would be possible without the support of each and every one of you who have donated to our organization or purchased items through the Kringle Jingle/online auction, or helped with the Big Payback, or bought tickets to a spring event, or purchased a cup at the Cups event. The list of supporters and thanks in this category would run for pages and please know that each and every one of you is appreciated. However, there are a few that must be recognized: Mark and Niki Antonini (Teapot Diplomat visual arts program), Diane Black (Young Soloist program), Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, Estelle Condra (And her group of friends that she has turned into supporters), First Horizon Bank, International Paper, Ann Krafft, Memorial Foundation, Nashville Predators’ Foundation, Public Consulting Group, The Clay Lady Artist Cooperative, The Tennessee Arts Commission, and the VSA program of the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Partnerships have infused our programs with the necessary elements to grow and reach new heights. Our partnerships have included cultural organizations, educational institutions, government agencies, international organizations, historic sites, and of course organizations that serve people with disabilities. I would be remiss if I did not provide a shout out to Charlie Kellett and Steve Sherman who have consistently opened doors and made connections for us. Also, a huge note of gratitude to a partner that has been with us even before we were an organization, and has been there every step of the way….Middle Tennessee State University.
Last, but certainly not least, thanks to all of our participants and their families who have invested countless hours through program participation.
Special thanks to Jean Kennedy Smith who had the foresight to create the VSA program from which Borderless Arts Tennessee emerged.
Special thanks to my family. For 20 years, I have worked days, nights, weekends, and holidays. They have supported my efforts in every way possible. I have always given special credit to our son, Christian. At the age of 6, he was the one that insisted that I take on this challenge with the promise to help when needed. In the early years, he was at times my only volunteer. Over the past 20 years, his support has never waivered.
Borderless Arts has consumed the last 20 years of my life. It has been my passion. Yet, it has also left behind a trail of memories and friendships that has gone beyond my wildest imagination. I ask for God’s guidance for this organization every day and I am continually in awe of moments that can only be explained as a touch of grace.
I can think of no better way to open up this anniversary year than to announce this incredible honor: Borderless Arts Tennessee, Governor’s Arts Award Recipient for Arts Leadership!
Borderless Arts TN Teapot Diplomats: Austin King, Hope McKee, and Jonathan Pfeiffer are participating in a special exhibit that is celebrating the international year of the cave. Their work will be exhibited at Mammoth Cave Nov. 17-Jan. 19. We are very proud of these...
The Teapot Diplomats had a fabulous time today! I think the smiles say it all. Participants were at Buff City Soap in Gallatin learning to make soap. Participants are keeping some of their soap. Some of the soap will show up in the Kringle Jingle. Some of the soap...
Drew Basham gave an inspirations talk and an amazing performance on Tuesday night, Oct 5 at 7pm. This was part of the MTSU Ambassadors of Borderless Arts Program. The meeting was our best attended this year with nearly 30 people on the Zoom. Here is a video of the...
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