In Memory of Estelle Condra

By Anne B. Pope, Executive Director –

Tennessee lost a talented artist and arts advocate when Estelle Condra passed away on November 27, 2021. Estelle Condra is the recipient of the 2011 Governor’s Arts Award for Distinguished Artist. That same year, she also received the Decade Award from VSA Tennessee, the state organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities participate in and express themselves through the arts. She is a nationally recognized author, storyteller, and actress who was the keynote speaker at Arts Talk, Tennessee’s Forum for Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities (2006). Her performances and presentations encourage her audiences to continue on with persistence, creativity, and a positive attitude.

Lori Kissinger of Borderless arts said, “She was a Board member for Borderless Arts and one of our strongest supporters and advocates.  More importantly, she was one of my dearest friends.”

Our barriers are only in our minds. Whatever we can conceive, we can achieve. These are the themes of Estelle Condra’s life and work. Her performances, presentations, seminars, and books remind us all that the barriers to accomplishing our goals are only stepping stones that can be traversed with persistence, creativity, and a positive attitude.

All of us at the Commission, board members and staff, past and present, send our condolences to her family and friends.

A recording of Estelle Condra receiving the 2011 Governor’s Arts Award can be viewed here: