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Examples of Public Art in the South West: Somerset

Landmarks (2003):

This project set out to explore the issues of rural change in Somerset and to reconnect rural and urban communities to the land through the arts. Six artists - Julie Lyons, Paul Fry (who assisted Indian master carver Ganesh Bhat), Gordon Field, Jenny Graham, Suzy Needham and Ann-Marie Culhane - undertook artist residencies and worked in partnership with those managing the land. Julie Lyons' temporary and permanent sculptures are at Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve near Glastonbury, and the life sized stone sacred cow sculpture by Ganesh Bhat, assisted by Paul Fry, is at Shute Farm Studio, Downhead near Shepton Mallet.

Contact: Somerset Art Week.

Tel: 01749 648999, Website:

River Parrett Trail (ongoing):

Link to larger image: Lettercutting into bracing beams by Andrew Whittle, 1996.River Parrett Trail: Bridgwater, Somerset.Photo: Peter Milner. Link to larger image: Footbridge in wood by Keith Rand, 1998.River Parrett Trail, Somerset.

A 50 mile regional footpath, following the River Parrett from its sources in West Dorset to the Bristol Channel near Bridgwater. Commissioned artworks include a tower bird hide by architect Wilf Burton and artist Tony Eastman, lettercutting by Andrew Whittle of a poem from a community project led by Tony Charles, stiles, seats and bridges by Keith Rand, willow cones by Claire Wilkes, wooden sculptures by Louise Baker, stone sculptures by Evie Body, seat and gates by Karen Hansen and the Discovery Room Visitor Centre at Langport by Jenny Dack, Charles Camm and Peter Milner. Also at Langport, Cocklemoor Bridge, a unique landmark structure by Richard La Trobe-Bateman and design engineer Mark Lovell. As successful bridge-designing artists are few, Somerset County Council provided an opportunity for emerging artist, Pandora Vaughan, to shadow the process. Pandora was subsequently commissioned to embellish the nearby Stacey's Court Bridge. Controversial sculpture, WER R U?, by Leo Fitzmaurice, utilises street signage to form a large tree-of-signs with mobile text messages providing content for the fingerposts; the search is on for a location for this sculpture.

Contact: Kate Jenkins, RTP Officer, Somerset County Council.

Tel: 01823 358287 Website:

River Parrett Trail Phase II Breaking the Surface, Bridgwater Dock (2002):

Temporary installation of sculpture and soundscape by Michael Pinsky held on three evenings in May 2002.

Contact: Bronwen Gwillim, Project Co-ordinator.

Tel: 01984 624121


Online Catalogue of public art in Bath and North East Somerset

Bath & North East Somerset Council has published an online catalogue of all the public art which has been commissioned in the district since 1945.

This is the first time that the Council has catalogued the diverse range of 170-plus works of art located outdoors and in public buildings. Work includes murals, sculptures, mosaics, functional pieces such as benches, stained glass, and paintings.

Researching and producing the catalogue has involved re-discovering many exciting pieces of work and finding out about the background to how each piece was conceived and commissioned.

The catalogue is available online through the Council’s website at and includes a detailed description of each piece and notes about the artist or designer.

Contact: Menna Davies, Communications Officer
Bath and North East Somerset Council
Tel: 01225 477827, Email: [email protected]

Royal United Hospital NHS Trust, Bath

The Journey, by Edwina Bridgeman (2003), Royal United Hospital entrance atrium, Bath

'The Journey' by Edwina Bridgeman was commissioned for the atrium of the main entrance to the hospital in 2002/3 with funding from Arts Council England, South West. The hospital hosts temporary exhibitions and installations of artwork; please see their website below for details.

Contact: Hetty Dupays, Arts Co-ordinator, Art@RUH, Royal United Hospital NHS Trust

Tel: 01225 824987; Email: [email protected]

Walcott Street Art Works (2003):

Different from the rest of the city, with a mix of architectural styles, yards, alleys, just off the city centre, Walcott Street is a centre for artists, makers and small independent traders. Public art is part of the overall programme of regeneration of the street's fabric and Diana Hatton and the lead artist Chinks Vere Grylls managed the project.

Commissions include gates at front by Kevin Hughes and John Paker, gates at back by Peter Linnet, Stoneworks of Bath and Bronwen Williams-Ellis, arched metal sign and sign shop brackets by Bronwen Williams-Ellis, stone bench by Ben Gale with poetry by residents of Ladymead House with poet Claire Williamson, mixed media relief at entrance to Beehive Yard by various local artists, metal and glass bollards by Kevin Hughes and John Paker, cycle rack designed by public competition and a fresco at the top of Paragon Steps.

Contact: Ann Cullis, Arts Development Officer, Bath & NE Somerset .

Tel: 01225 396455; Email: [email protected]


Black Swan Arts (2002):

Stained glass commission by Ann Smyth for the entrance to the new Black Swan Arts Gallery.

Contact: Black Swan Arts. Tel: 01373 473980.

ECOS Amphitheatre, Merlin Theatre (2002):

By Barry Cooper in collaboration with Laurence Knee. This work involved importing monoliths from the original 12 members of the EEC and setting them around a purpose built amphitheatre, constructed out of stone from the Mendip Hills. Twelve trees, echoing the twelve stones, were placed on the bank screening the amphitheatre from the car park.

Contact: Merlin Theatre. Tel: 01373 461360.

shillyshallyfence (2006):

shillyshallyfence by Walter Jack (2006) at Frome Children's Centre; photograph courtesy the artist

By Walter Jack, commissioned by Somerset County County for Frome Childrens Centre: a band of colour winds through the spaces between Christchurch School and the new Sure-Start Childrens Centre in Frome, separating and joining two playgrounds and creating hiding spaces, play spaces and places for planting along the way.

Contact: [email protected]

M5 Motorway

Travelling Light (2004):

Link to larger image: Travelling Light by Peter Freeman, 2004.Weston super Mare interchange on M5.

Light work by Cornwall based artist, Peter Freeman, stands alongside the M5, as a gateway beacon sculpture for Weston super Mare. Commissioned by Locking Castle Ltd, the 13.5 metre high mirror stainless steel column uses digital LED lights programmed to change colour for each day of the week, with special light shows for individual calendar dates - 14 February, the summer and winter solstices, Hallowe'en, Bonfire Night, Christmas and new year.

The Willow Giant (2000):

40 foot high, onthe M5 (just north of Junction 23), the Willow Giant was created as part of the Year of the Artist. Made by Serena de la Hey, a Somerset artist, using locally grown willow and applying traditional Somerset techniques. It was destroyed by arsonists in March 2001 and has been rebuilt using willow woven together with more durable steel wire.

Contact: Serena de la Hey, The Willows, Curload, Stoke St Gregory, Somerset TA3 6JD.

Tel: 01823 698049 Email: [email protected]


Tracers (2000):

A series of seven hollowed carvings, by Deborah Jones, set into stone walls on the Mendip Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty along the route of The National Cycle Network.

Contact: AONB Officer Sarah Jackson, Mendip Hills AONB Service, Charterhouse Centre, Nr Blagdon BS40 7XR.


South West Coast Path (2006):

Link to larger image: Minehead Marker, sculpture in metal designed by Sarah Ward, fabricated by Owen Cunningham, 2000.South West Coast Path: Minehead seafront, Somerset.Photo: Steve Guscott, © South West Coast Path Team.

The longest of the 13 approved National Trails in England and Wales, the SWCP extends 630 miles from Minehead, Somerset, through Exmoor National Park, Devon, Cornwall and Dorset, ending at South Haven Point, Poole. Celebratory markers have been installed at both ends of the Coast Path, and plans are currently being developed for one at the midway point.  The Minehead marker (installed in 2001) was designed by Sarah Ward and realised by Owen Cunningham as part of Gordon Young's arts consultancy with the Minehead Seafront Enhancement Scheme.  The marker at South Haven Point by David Mayne was installed in summer 2002 following a collaborative design process that sought to engage both local people and visitors.

Contact: Elaine Norsworthy, Project Officer, South West Coast Path Team, c/o Devon County Council, Matford Lane Offices, County Hall, Exeter EX2 4QW.

Tel: 01392 383560. Email: [email protected]

North Somerset

Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (2006):

Glass panels by Christian Ryan in the Room for Reflection, Long Fox Unit, North Somerset; photograph Paul Highnam Glass panels by Christian Ryan in the Room for Reflection, Long Fox Unit, North Somerset; photograph Paul Highnam Sensory mosaic and glass panels by Natasha Rampley within privacy at the Long Fox Unit, North Somerset; photograph Paul Highnam Sensory mosaic and glass panels by Natasha Rampley within privacy atthe Long Fox Unit, North Somerset; photograph Paul Highnam

Moving On is an exciting arts for mental health programme which involved service users in working with artists over a period of three years to create artworks to enhance a whole wave of new buildings and facilities for mental health services across Avon. These facilities and artworks will be completed in 2006.Artworks commissioned for the Long Fox Unit in North Somerset include sensory mosaic and glass panels by Natasha Rampley and glass panels and glazing by Christian Ryan for the Room for Reflection.

The Faculty of Health and Social Care at UWE Bristol are conducting a qualitative evaluation of this project.

Also see Bristol.

Contact: Jane Willis, Willis Newson Arts Consultants.

Tel : 0117 924 7617; Email: [email protected]


Poets’ Walk, East Clevedon (1993/4):

Leaning Posts by Michael Fairfax, Project Artist for the Tourism Development Action Programme.

Portishead, Port Marine Public Art Programme:

Timelines: The Wedding Guest, Portishead; artist/photographer Marianne ForrestTimelines: The Mariner; Portishead; artist / photographer Marianne ForrestTimelines: The Wedding Guest (detail); Portishead; artist / photographer Marianne Forrest

An extensive programme rolled out to coincide with a major new mixed development in Portishead due for completion in 2010. Artists involved include residencies by Jason Lane (Year of the Artist 2001) and Michael Disley, artworks by Ann Chris topher, Rick Kirby and artist/blacksmith Matthew Fedden, and, most recently, Timelines by jewellery designer Marianne Forrest, a sculptural pathway linking old and new Portishead.  New works are expected shortly from Giles Penny, Carol Peace and Colin Rose. Major projects currently in development include Energy Artwork utilising new technologies to create an artwork that reflects the dynamic concepts of energy and power, and Fragments and Traces which consists of four community based projects. This programme is steered by a collaborative partnership, made up of the developer, Crest Nicholson (South West) Ltd, North Somerset Council Planning and Arts, University of the West of England Faculty of Arts , Media & Design, Portishead Town Council and community representatives, and managed by Continuum Public Arts Consultancy.

Contact: Stuart Clamp. Email: [email protected]


Light: Light is only seen when it is reflected (2007):

‘Light is only seen when it is reflected’; Installation by Roso in Clarks Shoes Headquarters, Street, Somerset, 2007.Image copyright Roso. ‘Light is only seen when it is reflected’; Installation by Roso in Clarks Shoes Headquarters, Street, Somerset, 2007. Image copyright Roso. ‘Light is only seen when it is reflected’; Installation by Roso in Clarks Shoes Headquarters, Street, Somerset, 2007. Image copyright Roso. ‘Light is only seen when it is reflected’; Installation by Roso in Clarks Shoes Headquarters, Street, Somerset, 2007. Image copyright Roso.

Roso has launched a major art installation at Clark Shoes Headquarters in Street, Somerset. This was commissioned by Mr Lance Clark and is the first of two artworks situated in the communal courtyard in the heart of Clark Shoes International Headquarters. The courtyard is situated in the heart of the old Clarks factory now housing the offices of 1500 employees. This is part of the factory’s social centre - the canteen, which extends into the courtyard via an outdoors terrace where the employees can enjoy their breaks.

To date, the Clark Shoes art collection has installed the work of 15 contemporary artists working with digital art, sculpture and painting in the Clark Shoes Headquarters.

The installation itself was developed from a single observation: light is only seen when reflected. A light beam coming through a window is only visible because light is reflected in the millions of dust particles floating in the air. Roso’s approach was to create a dynamic, ever changing artwork where the space itself would be a major part of the installation.

Roso is a London-based partnership set up in 2006 by Sophie Nielsen and Rolf Knudsen.

Further details: Roso, Mentmore Studios, 1 Mentmore Terrace, London E8 3PN.

Tel: 020 8133 3262; Email [email protected];

Sculpture by Neville Gabie at Millfield School (1995):

Three identical forms, bolted together at different angles.

Steps and Diamond (1975):

Two large steel sculptures by Philip King onthe bypass near to the Clarks Shoe factory.

Contact: Nicola Epps, Arts Development Officer, MendipDistrict Council, Council Offices, Cannards Grave Road,Shepton Mallet, Somerset BA4 5BT.

Tel: 01749 343399 Email: [email protected]

Sustrans: Art & the Travelling Landscape

The National Cycle Network created by Sustrans is not only an intricate web of alternative transport arteries, it is also the longest outdoor gallery in the world. Interspersed along the 10,000 miles of cyclepaths are over a thousand sculptures and other public works of art. Sites are free and open to all.

See details of Sustrans artworks on the West Country Way in Exmoor, the Colliers Way route from Radstock to Frome, the Bristol to Taunton route and the Bristol to Bath route.

Further information about Sustrans:


Bishop Fox’s Community School (1992-94):

Link to larger image: Lettercutting into brick bridge by Richard Kindersley, 1994.Bishop FoxÁs Community School, Taunton, Somerset.Photo: Eileen Adams.

Artist, Chinks Grylls, worked closely with the architectto integrate artworks into the new school building. Commissions includedschool gates by Jim Horrobin, decorative glazing in canteen and learning resources centre by Chinks Grylls, mosaic for the courtyard by RosalindWates, carving of school name into brickwork and lettercutting on a bridgein the grounds by Richard Kindersley.

Contact: Dr Jeremy Harvey, Headteacher. Tel: 01823 289211.

The Hammett Window (2003):

One of a series of seven dual-purpose publicsculptures. Outside the Market House in Taunton, this stainless steelarc, by Michael Fairfax, reflects the surrounding architecture aswell as containing a tourist information plaque.

Contact: Caroline Corfe, Arts Officer, Taunton DeaneBorough Council.

Tel: 01823 356521 Email: [email protected]

Musgrove Park Hospital Phase II (1998 onwards):

An extensive Lottery funded art programme includingcommissioned glass for main 'street' by Amber Hiscott, artist-designedlandscaped courtyards by Serena de la Hey and Steve Geliot, ceramic wallpiece for the main entrance by Liz Raeburn.

Update: June 2008

Art for Life aims to bring the right people together and provoke the dialogue required for everyone to raise the stakes and improve the design of hospital environments. This means working at a strategic level to ensure the hospital develops a strong vision of what it wants to achieve and at the grass roots to ensure everyone including porters, cleaners and care assistants have their say. Being ambitious, taking a bigger view and doing things differently doesn’t always mean spending more money but it does mean finding out what people really need to work and feel better.

As well as running a programme of exhibitions, concerts and workshops and developing our collection of paintings and prints we also work extensively with artists, designers and architects on refurbishments, small scale extensions or much larger new buildings where art and design ideas are incorporated as an intrinsic part of the design process.

Projects that have been completed in the past 18 months include:

  • a major light work from artist Peter Freeman designed to help break up the mass of a large multi-storey car park located close to hospital buildings
  • two glass screens incorporating delicate pebble and pencil hangings by Dail Behennah have been installed in the newly refurbished A&E department
  • a new poetry courtyard has been created by Chris Tipping and writer Briony Goffin which integrates words into its walls, paving and seating.
  • major signage and outdoor seating also by Chris Tipping as part of our strategy to redesign and reinvigorate the external areas of the site.
  • artist Lindsey Mann created design concepts and artworks for the newly refurbished children’s wards
  • a resource of high quality photographic images of hospital life by Pauline Rook and Tom Lyndsey has worked closely with the maternity unit to produce images of skin to skin contact between parents and babies
  • Digital printed panels by Lucy Hobbs which tell personal memories of the oldest section of the hospital from the 1940s to the present day in anticipation of it being pulled down to make way for the new surgical centre

Currently Art for Life is implementing the arts strategy for its new Cancer Centre which is due to be opened in April 2009. It involves major glass commissions from Anne Smyth and Keiko Mukaide, and wood carvings by Keith Rand as well as further opportunities for artists to contribute after the building opens.

Contact: Bronwen Gwillim, Art for Life, MusgrovePark Hospital.

Tel: 01823 342488 Email: [email protected]

Tacchi Morris Arts Centre (1999):

This is a Lottery funded centre, based at HeathfieldCommunity School, Monkton Heathfield, encompassing a purpose-built,performance space, dance and drama studios and a recording suite.Commissions include a courtyard design, sculpture to mark road entranceto site by Peter Freeman, personalisation of the drama and danceterraces, suspended sculpture for the foyer, a light work by PhilipPower, a video/photography project to interpret the present and future,signage, design for the main staircase by Walter Jack, banners andexterior boundary sculpture/wall.

Contact: Gabriella Falk, Hare and Hounds, Exton, Dulverton,Somerset TA22 9JT.

Tel: 01643 815266 Email: [email protected]

Weston super Mare

Big Lamp Corner (2007):

Silica forms part of the Civic Pride initiative for Weston super Mare.It is the first of a small number of key priority arts initiatives identified within the public art strategy, one of six complementary studies commissioned by North Somerset Council (NSC) to inform ‘Connecting Spaces, Places and People’ (CSPP) the strategic urban design framework for the regeneration of Weston-super-Mare town centre and seafront. Silica makes reference to glass, sand and light. The design team, led by artist Wolfgang Buttress of Wolfgang and Heron, have created a new sculptural form, which will act as a symbolic and practical landmark for the residents and visitors of Weston super Mare.

Read Public Art Online's case study about the Silica project.

Contact: Mark Luck, Urban Design, North Somerset Council.

Email: [email protected]

Queen’s Way Centre:

An imposing granite sculpture by Peter Nicholas has been placed as the centerpiece to this busy retail centre. Artist Steve Foyle is currently producing, in conjunction with students of the nearby secondary school, an intricate metalwork screen to be installed in the seating area.

Thresholds, West Wick Business Park (2004):

Artist Peter Freeman has been commissioned to use light to create sculptures, sited adjacent to the M5 at the entrance to Weston super Mare.

Contact: Stuart Clamp Email: [email protected]

Weston super Mare Sea Front (1993-1995):

Light and Shadow series of sculptures (carved capstones by Michael Fairfax), 1994.Photo: Steven Harrison. Light and Shadow series of sculptures (carved capstones by Michael Fairfax), 1994.Photo: Steven Harrison. Michael Fairfax, Capstone Detail, Weston-super-Mare seafront, 1993-4 Michael Fairfax, Brean Down, Weston-super-Mare seafront 1993-5 Michael Fairfax, Roman Remains, Weston-super-Mare seafront, 1993-5

Capstones by Michael Fairfax (1993-4):

Michael writes: "The capstones on the seawall were carved with images of what was near them, what related to their positions. These were created before the sealife centre, which divides their relationship unfortunately. The bowl shape which houses the carving may sometimes contain water either from the sea or from rain which then slightly covers the carved form. The carved forms are seaweed or shells and have the appearance of fossils. In fact whilst I was carving in situ, a woman reported me to the police saying: 'there is a man on the seafront removing the fossils from the seawall'."

Light and Shadow by Michael Fairfax (1994):

This series of sculptures, placed along the promenade between Knightstone and Anchor Head in Weston super Mare, reflects elements of the sea front in the marks and images carved onto the surface. The amount of sky and light is important to the pieces and is acknowledged in the different ways the light penetrates the sculptures, casting light and shadow onto the promenade.

Museum Trail (1995):

Following this trail of stone sculptures will take you on a walk which starts at the Tourist Information Centre on Weston super Mare seafront. The stones have been carved, by Michael Fairfax, with a series of designs, each pointing the way to the next until you find your destination - Woodspring Museum.

Contact: Fiona Matthews, Arts Development Officer, North Somerset Council, 1st Floor, Health Centre Chambers, Somerset Headquarters, Nailsea, BS48 1RQ.

Tel: 01275 810995. Email: [email protected]

South Somerset


Sculpture by Neville Gabie in the main street (1995):

Link to larger image: Sculpture in bronze by Neville Gabie, 1995.High Street, Chard, Somerset

Made in a local foundry as the result of a residency by the artist and links with a local school. Commissioned by the Town Council with support from South Somerset District Council.


Glass Wall of Light - Yeovil District Hospital (2005):

Raphael Daden, 'Light Wall', 2005 Led lighting, Glass, 3m x 2.5m. 600mm Raphael Daden, 'Light Wall', 2005 Led lighting, Glass, 3m x 2.5m. 600mm

Raphael Daden was the leading artist for the re-design of the entranceway to the hospital. A glass wall of light was commissioned which changes colour gradually with programmed LED lights, some furniture was also designed by Asaf Tolkovsky and Roy Tam. Raphael is currently collaborating on a lift for children.

Contact: Alex Coulter.

Tel: 01935 384414 Email:

[email protected]

Introspection (2003):

Link to larger image: Introspection: collaborative work by artist Richard Langford with users of South Somerset MIND, 2003. Yeovil, Somerset.

Crewkerne based artist, Richard Langford, led a series of workshops, teaching sculptural technique to users of South Somerset MIND. Participants learnt soft stone carving, modelling in wire, clay and papier-mâché. The project culminated in a sculpture, a collaborative piece of work between the artist and the group, made of tubular steel ribs in the form of a head and standing almost 2m high. Surrounding the base is a number of tablets, sculpted by members of the group in clay and then cast in cement fondue, all on the theme of the subconscious mind.

Contact: Pauline Burr, Arts Officer, South Somerset District Council.

Tel: 01935 462923 Email: [email protected]

Middle Street Enhancement Scheme - Floral Structures for Yeovil in Bloom and Integrated Seating and Lighting (2005):

Designs by Tim Fortune of Henstridge (, were chosen as most fitting for the theme The Mind of a City and the Heart of the Countryside for the enhancement of the town centre. In all, ten units have been commissioned by South Somerset District Council to include functional structures for floral displays, seating and lighting.

Contact: Pauline Burr, Arts Officer, South Somerset District Council.

Tel: 01935 462923 Email: [email protected]

Sculpture, St George Street (1995):

By John Fortnum, with local support. Commissioned by South Somerset District Council.

Contact: Pauline Burr, Arts Officer, South Somerset District Council.

Tel: 01935 462923 Email: [email protected]

West Somerset

Dulverton (2000):

Dulverton gateway sculptures. Stone carvings along footpaths around Dulverton by Gordon Field and Tom Giles, developed from community workshops as part of Somerset Now.

Contact: Jan Ross, ALL Manager, ALL West Somerset. Tel: 01398 324081.


Porlock Vale Cycle Route (2002):

Local craftsmen made cycle rack (James Horrobin), benches (Ben Horrobin with local schoolchildren) and way markers (James Adlington).

Porlock Community Garden (2003):

Community Garden, including pebble mosaic by local people with artist Janette Ireland.

Contact: Denise Sage, Porlock Visitor Centre. Tel: 01643 863150.


Pebble mosaic, using local pebbles, outside Library by Maggie Howarth.

Contact: Tracey Roberts, Cultural Development Co-ordinator, ARTlife.

Tel: 01643 704661.

For further information, email: [email protected]

© Public Art South West, February 2008