Breaking Ground 117 Arts

Download a PDF version of Breaking Ground 117 here.

Download a plain text version of Breaking Ground 117 with image descriptions here (Word document).

Click the links below to read individual articles. Further down on this page, see the introduction letters from our Executive Director and executive directors from Borderless Arts and TN Arts Commission.


Note by Lauren Pearcy, Executive Director, TN Council on Developmental Disabilities


It’s the issue we wait for all year long – the arts issue!

I love everything about this process. From the time we launch a call for artwork on social media, I love to watch you tag artists you know and encourage them to apply. That, in itself, is a recognition of each other’s talents – which is what the arts issue is all about. As we watch the submissions come in, we marvel at each one. Each represents a piece of its creator; an expression of something you’ve felt and experienced. We get to feel it, too, because you were brave enough to share it. Thank you to every submitter for that privilege.

Art fosters a human connection like no other medium. As you open this magazine, I hope you are able to feel that. I hope you feel a connection with people who you may otherwise never meet. I hope you imagine the experiences of someone whose life is fundamentally different than yours. That is what I look forward to every year; it is why the arts issue is so special.

Sit down in a comfortable place – maybe with a cup of tea or something similarly soothing for you – and soak it all in.

Lauren Pearcy
Executive Director
Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities

Note by Lori Kissinger, Executive Director, Borderless Arts TN

Borderless Arts TN is honored to continue the partnership for this edition of Breaking Ground.

We believe that the arts can be found in all aspects of life from the clothes we wear, to the furniture we use, to the cars we drive, to the art on walls. We play numerous "roles" in our lives while listening to the sounds that surround us and using those sounds to move between life's moments. We are each unique living artworks.

In this edition of Breaking Ground, we get to see the uniqueness of the individual through his/her art. This edition shows how life and art are forever intertwined.

Lori Kissinger
Executive Director
Borderless Arts TN

Note by Kim Johnson, Arts Access Coordinator, TN Arts Commission

Though we bid farewell to two impactful programs this year, their lasting impression remains. The Tennessee Arts Commission’s Tennessee Person-Centered Music Program served residents in nursing homes through individualized music. This highly successful program provided a powerful testament to the arts' ability to improve health in older adults, including those with disabilities. Likewise, Creative Aging Tennessee II linked organizations throughout Tennessee with trained artists ready to teach older adults arts programming. The program empowered hundreds of older adults through artistic engagement. It offered them a way to overcome the social challenges of isolation, leaving a legacy of community connection that continues to bloom.

Valuable lessons learned from previous initiatives like the Music Program and Creative Aging Tennessee II guide our ongoing commitment to accessibility. During the past year, we applied for and received additional national grant dollars to offer Creative Aging Tennessee III. This project will also focus on connecting community artists in rural and culturally specific communities with older adults to provide arts programming. We're also addressing artists' needs by partnering with Lifetime Arts for the first-ever training to serve individuals with cognitive and physical limitations. By listening to feedback, we're expanding training opportunities statewide through virtual sessions on accessibility, empowering all arts organizations to reach wider audiences. Alongside valuable partners like the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities and Borderless Arts, we're excited to continue this journey of inclusion and creative expression for everyone.

This is just the beginning! Saying goodbye can be bittersweet, especially when it comes to impactful programs like these. However, their success in enriching the lives of older adults fills me with hope for the future. Their achievements inspire us to continue seeking innovative ways to improve the lives of all Tennesseans. We appreciate your support as we work tirelessly for all Tennesseans, regardless of ability or background.

Kim Johnson
Director of Arts Access
Tennessee Arts Commission