Young artist’s talent shines like the sun

Sep 5, 2023

MIDDLEBORO — Throughout the summer, the words of Middleboro teenager Savannah Byrne illuminated the windows of the cable studio on South Main Street.

Since June, a poem written by the 18-year-old had been displayed on a stencil nearly twice the artist's height. The creation brightened the windows and, organizers hoped, prompted passersby to stop and ponder her message. 

The Bryne Project, as the display was called, served as both a play on her name and a reflection of the ultimate goal of the effort: To showcase the power of the sun. The project came to an end Friday, Sept. 1 as part of the town’s First Friday celebration.

Her ode to the sun began with famous words: “Let there be light.”

The work then continued: “The heart of our existence is what gave us life.’’

A triptych was divided into three sections, each with its own colors. The opening lines morphed into a message of the importance of savoring life, appreciating the human connection and recognizing that “hope can be most powerful.’’

“Life is a gift,’’ she writes. “So be grateful to exist.’’

Byrne’s way with words earned her the chance to create the words for the project. 

“My idea as an artist is, I want people to think,’’ she said.

She was selected for the project by teachers at Middleboro High School. Art, they knew, was a centerpiece of her experience at school. “I didn’t do sports,” she said, or join many clubs.

But she does write. Her words, she said, can be interpreted differently by each person who reads them. A picture may be worth 1,000 words, she quoted the old adage, but so are the words themselves. 

“I don’t know what dots they will connect,’’ she said of those contemplating her writing. “I just really hope they they read it, they take something from it.’’

The effort took her three months to complete and involved creating bullet points in her journal to share “as many things as possible [about] how I felt’’ that could relate to the theme.

“Just for a minute, you see a shooting star’s motion,’’ the poem reads in part. “In this very second, we only exist for a moment.’’

Her completed words were then engraved onto a stencil with support from the Middleboro High School Innovation Lab. The overall project was sponsored by the Middleboro Cultural Council and the Office of Economic & Community Development.

The grand finale of the Byrne Project had been the planned removal of her poem to expose her words, burned by the sun into the old map of Middleboro that had been placed behind the poetry display. This would have created a juxtaposition of a vintage map of town emblazoned with the thoughts of a young resident. 

But when organizers unveiled the art ahead of the Sept. 1 festivities, they discovered that the words did not transfer through. The fabric turned out to be more sun-resistant than they had thought, according to Ariel Hallgren, who mentored Byrne through the project. 

“We knew it would be a little bit of an experiment,’’ Hallgren said. 

Still, she said, the project was “a win,’’ because Byrne was able to share her words with the community. 

Byrne, who graduated in the spring from Middleboro High School, continues to cultivate her creativity. She also has created videos and hopes to take a break from school to focus on yet another interest: Songwriting.

“I’m doing everything possible to get all my different messages out there,’’ she said. 

In an age when young female singer-songwriters are having a moment, she admits that a Taylor Swift-like career would be a “dream.’’

The key, she writes, is having hope and connecting with the universe. 

“Our energy, the way we think, the way we breathe, will really affect how we turn out in life.’'