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Garden Legacy For Gourock Artist - George Wyllie

Above - The George Wyllie Garden in Shore Street, Gourock (Pics: Nick Summer and The Pirate and Bluebelle)

A community garden dedicated to the late artist George Wyllie has been officially opened in Gourock – his home of 50 years.

An area of Shore Street has been transformed into a green space celebrating his art as part of Inverclyde Council’s towns and village centre regeneration funds.

The £30,000 project, delivered by regeneration specialists Riverside Inverclyde, has a number of special features including a pathway in the shape of a question mark – a recurring theme in Wyllie’s work.

His daughter Louise Wyllie cut the ribbon at the official opening of the new park on Friday 24 August 2018.

Above L-R: Councillor Lynne Quinn, Provost Martin Brennan, George Wyllie’s daughter Elaine Aitken, Councillor Ronnie Ahfleld and George Wyllie’s daughter Louise Wyllie.

Louise Wyllie said:

“On behalf of the Wyllie family and the George Wyllie Foundation, I’d like to express our delight that the people of Gourock decided to dedicate a garden to my father’s memory.

“My parents moved to the town in 1960 when my sister and I were little girls. They stayed there for the rest of their lives and were closely connected with the people and fabric of the place.

“What has touched us as a family is the fact that this garden has been created by the people of Gourock in memory of my father.”

The idea for the garden came from the Gourock town centre regeneration forum, which has been set up to develop plans complementing the recent £5million investment in the town centre by the Council.

Chair Councillor Ronnie Ahlfeld said:

“George Wyllie was described as a conjurer of concepts and his appeal and influence is felt far beyond Gourock and Inverclyde.

“The new garden is a fantastic opportunity to reclaim a part of his legacy – to bring him back to where he spent most of his life in a sense – and all to the benefit of local people and visitors alike.”

In the build-up to the opening residents and visitors were invited to Gourock’s heritage centre to decorate their own paper boats to form an exhibition ‘This Little Boat’ to coincide with the launch of the new garden.

Fiona Maguire, CEO of Riverside Inverclyde said: 

"This has been a fabulous project to deliver alongside the commited members of the Gourock town centre regeneration forum and we hope that everyone that visits enjoys the George Wyllie Garden."  

Louise continued:

“We’d also like to express our thanks to all the people involved in the creation of the garden and the celebrations surrounding its opening.

“Kathryn Brown of the This Little Boat project always goes the extra mile and the fact that her George Wyllie-inspired boat decorating workshop last weekend was packed out with intrepid boat-dazzlers is a testament to both Kathryn and the affection in which my father and his work are still held in the public consciousness. 

"The George Wyllie Foundation was created a few years ago to keep his life and work in the public domain and we are working on some exciting projects which celebrate my father’s open and inclusive art-for-all approach to creativity. Watch this space!"

A permanent home for a George Wyllie exhibition in Greenock could be created in Greenock as part of the Glasgow City Region City Deal.

Inverclyde Council – in partnership with Peel Ports – have prepared proposals to incorporate a Wyllie gallery – a permanent exhibition and arts space – into a new Greenock Ocean Terminal building.

If approved the project would deliver a new visitor centre and berthing facility in Greenock to safeguard and grow the cruise ship market to Inverclyde. 

Published: 24 August 2018