BHS junior one of 10 finalists for new Tenn. arts license plate

How many teenagers get the chance to say that their artwork has a chance to be displayed all over their home state? In Tennessee, just one. Bearden junior Sarah Byrd’s license plate design submission for the State Your Plate contest has made the cut as a top 10 finalist. Byrd is the youngest finalist by 10 years. “I was really excited and curious (when I found out),” Byrd said. The contest is being sponsored and supported by Tennesseans for the Arts (TFTA), an organization that works with state legislators to financially sustain local art programs all over Tennessee. Byrd’s design made it as a finalist after a first round of judging by art experts across the state. Now, the 10 selected as finalists are displayed on for people to vote on and rank their favorites. Honors art teacher Ms. Flowerree Galetovic first prompted Byrd to enter the contest as part of a class-wide homework assignment. The deadline was Oct. 15, during fall break, so few students actually managed to get their submissions in on time. “The words that would describe Sarah would be bright, positive, and hardworking,” Ms. Galetovic said. “She does the work, and she follows through.” The idea for her design originated from her belief that the term “art” doesn’t just mean a drawing or a painting. Her license plate reflects this well, referencing other fine arts such as theatre and music. “Art is a good outlet for me,” Byrd said. “It’s a great way to say things without having to use words." As her design demonstrates, Byrd already seems to have the talent for a future in art. She has also displayed excellent character both inside and outside the art room. “She always looks out for others before herself, and she is very sweet,” fellow Honors art student Kristin Kirby said. But does she plan to pursue art as a career? Although she would like to continue her favorite pastime, Byrd does not think she will. She plans to go to a liberal arts college and then go onto medical school to become a pediatrician. “She will go far in anything she decides to pursue,” Ms. Galetovic said. Right now, all she has to do is wait to see how her artwork stacks up against nine other Tennessee artists. Whether or not she wins, she is proud of how far she has come. Voting ends at 1 p.m. on Nov. 23. From there, the winner will be announced on Dec. 7, and presales for the license plate will begin Dec. 10. Support the arts and Sarah Byrd by taking the time to vote today. Jessica Froula is the entertainment editor for The Bark . Follow The Bark on Twitter @BeardenBARK, and like The Bark (Bearden High School) on Facebook.