Historic Doors Project: Borderless Arts Tennessee Teapot Diplomats

December 3, 2020–January 29, 2021

From Krishna Adams, Director of Visual Arts, Craft, Media, and Design –

The Historic Doors Project virtual exhibition kicks off on December 3rd honoring the International Day of Disabled Persons. This observance was proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3. The day aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic, and cultural life.

Directed by artist Carlos Calderon, the Historic Doors Project mosaics were created by members of the Teapot Diplomats. Participants learned about historic doors in Nashville and Lebanon as well as mosaic design. With that knowledge, they created representations of well-known historic doors. This project further acknowledges that the arts are the key to open doors…doors in education, doors to self-advocacy, doors to community engagement, and doors for professional careers.

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. In 2016 Borderless Arts TN formed the Teapot Diplomat visual arts program with the goals to prepare participants to be able to create and use their art in community engagement, international exchanges, and potentially in building a professional career. Members may pursue certifications in art technique, art business, and communication.  After they have achieved all certifications, they may aspire to the International Award by developing an international art exchange.  In the past four years, over 10 participants have received certifications and two participants have completed the International level.

The Teapot Diplomats have had significant accomplishments in recent years including selling their artwork at the annual TN Dept of Education Partners in Education Conference, creating Nick Cave sound suit inspired costumes that were on view at the Frist Museum in Nashville and later shown at an international art forum in Egypt where the group represented the United States among 31 countries. The Diplomats also hosted law enforcement diversity training involving disabilities, created a mosaic wall in Memorial Park in Hendersonville, and developed “Face Off” portraits of famous Tennesseans that will be part of the Statehood Day with the Tennessee State Museum among others. The Diplomats have been invited to present at the United Nations in the summer of 2021.  Additionally, they have recently been encouraged to create art that will be worn on the spacesuit of an astronaut during a mission to space.

Borderless Arts Tennessee will be celebrating the International Day of Disabled Persons with the release of Pieces of Peace, a collaborative project bringing together 10 other organizations from around the country and around the world.  All Pieces of Peace participants will send photos of art that represent peace.  The photos will then be placed into a digital montage postcard to the world for Peace.  Samantha Kaviyakone is the lead artist. The project is also a memorial to Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith who was the founder of the VSA program and who passed away in 2020. Learn more about the International Day of Disabled Persons at Information about Borderless Arts Tennessee can be found at

View Online Exhibit