Richard Demarco CBE, the co-founder of the city’s Traverse theatre and one of it’s leading adviocates of the arts, is to receive the seventh annual Edinburgh Award.
The artist and art entrepreneur, who was awarded European Citizen of the Year in August, is represented in more than 2500 art collections and has been recognised on many occasions for promoting cultural links throughout Europe.
Professor Demarco will be presented with the engraved Loving Cup, which has previously been awarded to Professor Peter Higgs and cyclist Chris Hoy, at a ceremony in 2014.
He will also have a mould of his hands taken and engraved into a permanent flagstone in the City Chambers quadrangle.
Lord Provost Donald Wilson said: “I am delighted to be able present this year’s award to Richard Demarco, whose tireless work to promote and present art from around the globe has doubtlessly enriched the Scottish art scene.
“The Edinburgh Award is a chance to honour an outstanding individual who has made an impact on the city and Professor Demarco is a most deserving recipient.”
Born in 1930 to an Italian-Irish family in Edinburgh, Professor Demarco went on to co-found The Richard Demarco Gallery in 1966 before establishing the Demarco European Art Foundation.
Appointed Commander of The British Empire (CBE) in 2007 the 83-year old, who has organised hundreds of exhibitions, plays, conferences and performances involving artists and academics from nations around the world, has been praised for his internationalism, and counts the Romanian and German Orders of Merit and the Gold ‘Gloria Artis’ Medal of Poland amongst his previous accolades.
Over the last 50 years Professor Demarco has built up an extensive collection of modern art featuring work by some of the most important figures in 20th century art and more than one million photographs.
He has also enjoyed a long relationship with Edinburgh’s festivals, having attended every Edinburgh Festival since its inception in 1947, and was appointed Director of Edinburgh Festival Contemporary Art exhibition programme in 1967.
In 2010 The Royal Scottish Academy celebrated his 80th birthday with a one-man exhibition entitled ‘A Life in Pictures’ which was presented at The Royal Scottish Academy along with the major exhibition ‘Ten Dialogues: Richard Demarco – Scotland and the European Avant-garde’.
Professor Demarco said: “I regard this award as an honouring of all the artists and art patrons who collaborated with me to develop a cultural dialogue between Scotland and the international art world.
“I feel deeply honoured but I am conscious of the countless numbers of all those who have helped me and who share my belief that Edinburgh is a nodal point on the cultural map of the world.”
The decision to award Professor Demarco, who was nominated for the award by Edinburgh citizens, was taken by a judging panel chaired by the Lord Provost Donald Wilson, with representatives from all political groups on the City of Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council and Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce.
First launched in 2007, the Award is a way for Edinburgh citizens to pay a lasting tribute to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the city through their achievements.
The previous winners of the award are Dame Elizabeth Blackadder, Ian Rankin, JK Rowling, Sir Chris Hoy, George Kerr CBE and Professor Peter Higgs.