A year-long programme of events, activities and festivals aimed at promoting Scotland's creativity will begin on Hogmanay.
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop has revealed details of the Year of Creative Scotland 2012.
The initiative will involve the creative, tourism and events sectors and will showcase Scottish culture.
A shortlist of smaller communities will compete to win Creative Place Awards to help them boost cultural projects.
A special map representing Scotland as a creative nation has been designed by artist Murray Robertson and was unveiled to coincide with the launch of the Year of Creative Scotland 2012 programme details.
Creative Scotland will invest £6.5m of lottery cash in the initiative.
The Scottish Artists Union (SAU) welcomed the launch of the Year of Creative Scotland but warned that lottery funding should not be used to "plug gaps" left by cuts to local artistic and cultural services.
Ms Hyslop said: "Scotland is a dynamic and creative nation, rich in heritage with a wealth of world-class cultural events.
"The Year of Creative Scotland 2012 will be a spectacular celebration of our nation's culture and creativity on both the international stage and across our communities.
"It will continue to build on the success of Homecoming 2009 as we journey towards a second year of Homecoming in 2014 - when Scotland hosts the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup."
The Year of Creative Scotland also aims to build on the success of existing events, including the Edinburgh Festivals, and complement other events such as the London Olympics.
It will begin with the Hogmanay fireworks display in the capital and will continue until 31 December 2012.
Highlights of the programme include:
- A celebration of contemporary Scottish printmaking held at Traquair House in the Scottish Borders between July and September 2012.
- Spectacular building-sized dynamic projections on the streets of Edinburgh in 2012, organised by The City of Literature Trust, through their enLIGHTen project.
- A bespoke train service to the annual Rock Ness festival from Kings Cross station in London, known as the RockNess Express, featuring on-board music and the best of Scottish food and drink.
- Scotland's largest traditional music festival, Celtic Connections, will head to Chicago in September 2012, as the Ryder Cup takes place at the nearby Medinah Country Club. The trip will be an opportunity to showcase the best of Scottish music and attract international visitors to Celtic Connections 2013.
As she launched the programme, the culture secretary also revealed the shortlists for the Creative Place Awards which aim to celebrate the value of creativity to the social and economic wellbeing of smaller communities across Scotland.
There are three award categories with three nominees in each.
For places with under 2,500 residents, the nominees are Creetown, Kilmartin Glen, and Wigtown.
Creetown would use the award to invite the National Symphony Orchestra to music workshops in the village.
Kilmartin Glen would support Kilmartin House Museum to develop Sounding Dunadd, a community performance on the ancient site of Dunadd Fort, while Wigton would use the award to build on the success of its book festival, making it into more of a year-round event.
Huntly, Prestonpans and West Kilbride are competing in the places with under 10,000 residents category.
Huntly wants to expand its Room to Roam programme and develop a signature menu for the town, while Prestonpans wants to extend its Prestongrange Arts Festival.
In West Kilbride, Craft Town Scotland would use the award to develop a new series of exhibitions for the Barony Centre.
In the final category, for places with under 100,000 residents, Irvine is competing with Perth and St Andrews.
Irvine Harbourside would use a Creative Place Award to develop a year-round cultural programme, while in Perth the local Cultural Partnership wants to build on its Living Communities project and identify a local hero for a commissioned portrait.
St Andrews will be the official host for the Year of Celebration and a Creative Place Award would focus on the town's rich cultural programme, and help support new events.
The category winners will be announced at a ceremony in January.
Andrew Dixon, chief executive of Creative Scotland said: "The Year of Creative Scotland 2012 is a unique opportunity to celebrate the huge strength of Scotland as a creative nation.
"Scotland's talent reaches into every home and in the next year will play out on an international stage."
Mike Cantlay, from VisitScotland, said: "The Year of Creative Scotland is a chance to spotlight, celebrate and promote Scotland's cultural and creative strengths on a world stage by encouraging the cultural and tourism sectors to work in closer partnership to enhance cultural tourism in Scotland.
"It marks the beginning of an exciting programme that will embrace London 2012 and celebrate Glasgow 2014 - as well as generate real momentum towards Homecoming 2014."
Rowena Comrie, president of the SAU, said she would like to see more investment in arts infrastructure and local authorities.
She added: "The Year of Culture is promoting some strong projects, and we support this.
"However, the good news should not distract from the serious cuts that are affecting artists across the board.
"We question the wisdom of using lottery funding to plug gaps left by cuts in funding to local authorities. The local infrastructure must be sustained for cultural activity to continue to feed the economy."