The design has now been selected

Artist L

Sarah Ovens(Artist L) has been selected to provide artwork for the refurbished subway.  You can see Sarah’s and all the other shortlisted schemes as they were displayed in similar format for public consultation, together now with the names of each shortlisted artist Subway Art designs. You can see all the original submissions and names of the artists below.

We are extremely grateful to all of the artists. There were more entries than we dared hope, showing imaginative, original ideas around our set theme. Selection was extremely difficult and it’s a pity that only one could finally be chosen. Many thanks also to everyone who looked at the displays and took the time to let us know their preferences we had over 450 replies.

Before embarking on this exercise we understood that we had secured £20,000 funding from the Community Infrastructure Levy, endorsed by Bath City Forum and supported by Council officials. All of us were more than disappointed when subsequent, wholly unexpected, legal advice precluded this use of that fund.  We are, however, all the more determined to press on seeking alternative funding.

The process

Widcombe Association & Bear Flat Residents’ Association invited local artists to submit ideas based on Where the City Meets the Countryside. From 26 submitted 7 were shortlisted for wider public consultation based on:

  • compliance with the theme,
  • attractiveness for regular subway users,
  • relevance for up to 20 years.

We also took account of practicalities of enlarging to fill a wall. Our assessment committee included 2 individuals with artistic expertise (though no connection with the submitted schemes).  The artists remained anonymous during the shortlisting and public consultation, identified only by letters of the alphabet.

Public consultation displays were held at various local venues, on-line and at the subway.  We invited participants to list 1st, 2ndand 3rdchoices if they wished, and also to add comments.  In all, 454 people responded.

Using 3 for a 1st, 2 for a 2ndand 1 for a 3rd, Artist L (Sarah Ovens) scored 547, with the next 2 on 480 and 458 respectively.

Having carefully analysed the returns, taking account of comments as well as preferences, we are delighted that Sarah Ovens has now accepted the commission.

Full list of artists that submitted designs (pictures of the submitted art to follow – check back here).

[Shortlisted artists marked with *]
Artist A- Emma Taylor
Artist B- Carol Symon 
Artist C- K.T.Black 
*Artist D- Laura Pearce-Jones
Artist E- Jeremy Smith 
Artist F- Carol Harwood
Artist G-John Smisson
*Artist H-Dr Matt Terrett
Artist I-Anya Miles +Ralph Allen Students
Artist J- Gearoid Simms
*Artist K-Charlie Shepphard-
*Artist L-  Sarah Ovens
Artist M- Fenella Clarke
Artist N- Jo Lethwaite
Artist O- Jason Dorley-Brown
Artist P- Marlis Garner
*Artist Q- Katy Spencer
Artist R- Rachel Orme
Artist S- Elsa Frere
Artist T- Alicia Dodgson
Artist U- Elka Derby
Artist V- Al Libby
Artist W- Jess Palmer
*Artist X- Charlie Arnold
*Artist Y- Sue Porter


Now closed : we need everyones feedback

The shortlisted designs are now available and we are seeking your feedback.  They will be on public display as follows:

Venue Date
Widcombe Art Trail 22/06/19 to 23/06/19
Good Bear 24/06/19 to 01/07/19
Widcombe Deli 24/06/19 to 01/07/19
Subway 03/07/19 all day
Alexandra Park Party 07/07/19


Or you can view them online at Subway Art designs Your feedback is important – please fill in a form when you visit the displays or download an online form from the on line display.

Calling allArtists!Our Subway needs you!

June 2019:

Thank you to the 25 artists who submitted their design ideas to us for consideration.  The entries were of a high standard so picking the short list has not been easy.  However, seven shortlisted designs have been chosen and will be shared with residents and subway users from 20 June to 8 July.  Please check here to find the details on where you can see the designs and how you can share your views with us.

Unfortunately funding may be an issue.  The grant we were provisionally awarded has now been withdrawn so we need to reapply for funding and we are working with officers from Bath & North East Somerset Council to progress. We may need help from local residents to help transform this space based on the fabulous ideas that have been submitted.

March 2019:

Our call for designs is set out below.  As we are asked questions we will update the FAQ section at the bottom of the page.

Old subway                                                                                                 Reopened on 15 March 2019

The subway near the bus station, linking Bath city with Widcombe and Bear Flat, is finally being refurbished. It will have better lighting, smooth pale rendered walls, red flooring, CCTV and better mirrors. We need YOUto come up with an exciting art design to run along the entire length of one wall and brighten up the subway for everyone who walks through it.

The Challenge

You are invited to submit an art design on the following theme:

where the City meets the Countryside

The final design will be reproduced at a size of around 15m x 1.5m onto durable, vandal proof enamelled metal or ceramic panels.

The design must be suitable in content for display for a period of 30 years or more.

The design must be your own original work with any images used free from copyright restrictions.

At this stage you should submit your design ideas, including coloured sketches/images.

Please submit your initial design by email to hpeterwidcombe@gmail.comby 30 April 2019

Any questions can be submitted to the same email address – we will aim to respond to all Q and A on WA Website

The Outcome

We plan to shortlist either a single design or a combination of design ideas and may need to invite artists to explain their work further before making any selection/s.

This is a community project for which funding is still subject to final sign off. We expect that there should be sufficient to cover installation costs and hope also to be able to award the artist(s) something around £1000, to complete the “installation ready” artwork.  In any event, we hope that a large accredited artwork displayed in this public location may be an enticing reward.

We hope you feel interested and able to submit your outline design.

Many thanks – The Subway Group 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1 When will the subway renovation be finished?

A1 We understand from BANES that the subway renovation will be finished before the Bath Half Marathon on the 17th March.  It will be a undecorated subway of plain grey walls with anti-graffiti paint.  It will have new lighting, mirrors and CCTV.

Q2:  Is a digitally produced image of the correct dimensions an acceptable  proposal, or are you looking for something that has been actually hand painted etc ?

A2: Original digitally produced images with our theme “where the city meets the countryside” theme would be very welcome.

Q3 Would you be interested in Bath streetscape designs (such as an example submitted with the question) which have mounted well on ceramic tiles elsewhere?

A3 Thank you.  We would be very interested in this format, subject to the choice of illustrations reflecting our “ where the city meets the countryside” theme.

Q4 The subway also leads to areas outside Widcombe like Bear Flat – can the theme be wider than just Widcombe?

A4 We have purposely left the brief as open as possible so yes we would be pleased to have elements that reflect the wider area South of the City and entries from local artists in Bear Flat and elsewhere in and around Bath

Q5 Can we visit and see the site after it is refurbished?

A5 Yes of course the subway was re-opened on 15th March and is open to public use.

Q6 Is it possible for our proposed design to go beyond the 15m wall? Could it curve round onto the walls lining the slopes leading down to the underpass?

A6 The size of the final art work will depend on the funding.  Since the probable option will be fixed panels in either ceramic tiles or nitrous enamel, a curved wall may be possible, but could prove too costly to install. We are hoping for some kind of matching signage in the ramps to direct people to local landmarks.