Breaking Ground 105 Arts - Introductions

TN Council on Developmental Disabilities – Wanda Willis, Executive Director

Dear readers,

Art can be so many things: a celebration, a mourning, a memory, a discovery, a reflection, a fear, a wish… Often, it’s many things at once. Maybe that’s what makes art such an important venue for people affected by disability to share their view of the world and themselves.

As you flip through the pages of this magazine, I hope you’ll see what I see: beautiful, complex, gifted people sharing a piece of themselves with us. As they do, they help us remember our common humanity. I can’t think of a time when that has been more important.

Thank you to the remarkable artists featured here, and to all those who give of themselves to remind us of what it means to be humans together.

Tennessee Arts Commission- Kim Johnson, Director of Arts Access


Through tornadoes, a global pandemic, and a “new normal” for our daily lives, the year 2020 changed the way we view accessibility. By practicing social distancing and other safety precautions, we moved from in-person meetings and programs to using technology-based platforms as our main way of reaching people. Accessibility has a new meaning as we find ways to stay connected with each other while continuing to support programs and services.

At the Tennessee Arts Commission, we have taken measures to ensure that people still have access to arts programming - including people with disabilities.  These efforts have resulted in the Arts Commission hearing great success stories from organizations like Borderless Arts Tennessee and others who have used technology in expanding their geographic reach, reimagining new programming, and finding innovative ways to achieve their missions, all while supporting the creative community.

We are again grateful for this partnership with the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities and Borderless Arts Tennessee as we work together in providing new ways of reaching people with disabilities during this unprecedented year.  We look forward to seeing what’s next and moving forward in service to people in Tennessee.

Borderless Arts Tennessee - Lori Kissinger, Executive Director

It is the gift of the arts that opens doors to careers, enhances school curriculum, and offers social engagement in communities. It is the gift of the arts that opens doors that allow us to look beyond the exterior so that we see the person.  It is the gift of the arts that opens doors that foster communication. Borderless Arts Tennessee is honored to once again partner with the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities on their arts edition of Breaking Ground.  The talented artists in these pages have elected to share the gift of the arts with you, and we thank the Council for opening the door to make that sharing a reality.