Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Richard Demarco

Born 1930.

Richard Demarco studied at Edinburgh College of Art from 1954-57 and subsequently became art master at the Duns Scotus Academy in Edinburgh.

In 1963 he was co-founder of the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, leaving in 1966 to establish with others a gallery for art and performance which became known as the Richard Demarco Gallery. As well as providing year-round shows for young and established Scottish artists, Demarco was keen for the gallery to have an international focus.

During the Cold War years he brought numerous artists from beyond the Iron Curtain to the Edinburgh Festival, including the sculptor Paul Neagu from Romania in 1969 and performance artist Marina Abramovic from Yugoslavia in 1973. Another notable international project was the ‘Strategy: Get Arts’ event Demarco organised during the Festival in 1970 which involved Joseph Beuys , Blinky Palermo and Sigmar Polke and other key artists from Dusseldorf. Beuys was to return to Edinburgh ten years later for his ‘Jimmy Boyle Days’ event during which he went on hunger strike.

Demarco continues to paint and make prints, alongside his work as promoter, art impresario, lecturer and curator. His contribution to the development of international collaboration in the arts has been substantial. He was appointed CBE in 2006 in recognition of his achievements and he has received many other honours, including medals and awards in Romania, Germany, Poland and Italy as well as several honorary doctorates from universities in the UK, Europe and America. In 2013 he received the European Citizen of the Year medal, awarded by the European Parliament .

Lady Stair's Close, Edinburgh