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Bucket loads of success

Press release   •   Sep 08, 2016 15:03 BST

Dundee’s largest ever mass participation public art event has been hailed as a resounding success ahead of a farewell gathering organised to celebrate the hit summer attraction.

The Oor Wullie’s Bucket Trail, launched in late June, brought the streets of Dundee to life this summer with 70 giant Oor Wullie sculptures displayed across the city while 15 touring Oor Wullies, including VisitScotland’s ‘ScotSpirit Wullie’, spent ten weeks visiting cities across Scotland.

Over 70,000 locals and visitors are estimated to have taken part in the public art event over the summer, either by picking up one of the bucket trail maps or by downloading the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail app.

The trail is also said to have been a contributing factor to a boost in footfall at the Dundee VisitScotland iCentre with visitor numbers up by over 24% compared to the same time last year and retail sales up by 45% between 27 June and 17 August.

Thousands of people are now expected to gather for the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail Farewell Gathering which takes place in Slessor Gardens, Dundee between 9 - 11 September. An incredible 8,000 were tickets sold in the first 24 hour with all proceeds from the event set to go to the ARCHIE Foundation Tayside Appeal.

The statues will then be auctioned off at the Dundee Rep on 13 September to raise money for the ARCHIE Foundation’s Tayside Appeal for a new twin-operating theatre paediatric surgical suite for Tayside Children’s Hospital.

A collaboration between The ARCHIE Foundation, DC Thomson and Wild in Art, The Oor Wullie Bucket Trail featured 55 sculptures, beautifully decorated by local and national artists, displayed across Dundee between 27 June and 27 August.

The project included 15 touring Oor Wullies, which visited Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Perth, and Stirling. 35 mini-statues were also on display at libraries in the city of discovery.

VisitScotland worked with Scottish artist Vanessa Gibson to create a ‘ScotSpirit Wullie’ as part of the Oor Wullie’s Bucket Trail set. Using a variety of media including acrylic paint and fine nib markers, Vanessa transformed the blank Oor Wullie statue into a fusion of colour and black and white, representing the Spirit of Scotland and the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

Jim Clarkson, Regional Director, VisitScotland, said:

“We were absolutely delighted to be involved in this innovative project, with our #ScotSpirit Wullie proving a great draw as one of the touring sculptures which took over cities across Scotland. The Oor Wullie Bucket Trail has been a phenomenal success, capturing the imagination of locals and visitors in Dundee while also proving to be a huge success across Scotland too.

“The event at Slessor Gardens provides a great opportunity for everyone to catch a final glimpse of the popular sculptures before they are auctioned off for a truly fantastic cause - The ARCHIE Foundation’s Tayside Appeal.

“From textiles to technology, architecture to fashion and design, the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is shining the spotlight on our greatest assets and icons, as well as our hidden gems and we would encourage everyone to discover more about Scotland throughout the rest of the year.”

The ‘ScotSpirit Wullie’ is part of the national tourism organisation’s Spirit of Scotland campaign, launched in February 2016. The global campaign is built on extensive research which shows that people think Scotland has a unique spirit– whether it’s the magic of the landscapes or the warmth of the people. Everyone who has shared their #ScotSpirit will become part of a special social movement. The campaign has already been hugely successful, with more than 160,000 shares of #ScotSpirit since launch.

To find our more, visit:

To book your tickets for the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail Farewell Gathering, visit can also be bought from the Dundee City Box Office online, or by calling 01382 434940.

Caption: Artist Vanessa Gibson is pictured with‘ScotSpirit Wullie’ atAuchmuty High School in Glenrothes

Notes to Editors

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      2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design

  • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design started on 1 January 2016 and will end on 31 December 2016.It will build on the momentum generated by the 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate. 
  • Join the conversation at #IAD2016