Demarco wowed by pupils’ work

ltr Heahter Millar, Bethany Farmer, Alix Donaldson, Richard Demarco, Gillian McLaren (art teacher) & Grant Whytock (headteacher). (not pictured Aidan Landels)
ltr Heahter Millar, Bethany Farmer, Alix Donaldson, Richard Demarco, Gillian McLaren (art teacher) & Grant Whytock (headteacher). (not pictured Aidan Landels)
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Staff and pupils at Buckhaven High School were delighted to welcome a stalwart from the arts world to the school last week.

Sixth year pupils studying advanced higher art, along with staff from the department and headteacher Grant Whytock, played host to renowned Scottish artist Richard Demarco.

I was very grateful for Demarco’s personal interest in the pupils on the day of his visit

Gillian McLaren, art teacher

The visit came just weeks after pupils were lucky enough to visit his own studios.

The artist, who founded the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh in 1963, spent time discussing the history of the school and the Buckhaven area with the pupils and Mr Whytock, before visiting the art department and viewing the portfolios of the advanced higher pupils, six of whom have been accepted into art colleges across the country.

Mr Demarco told the Mail he was “very impressed” with the pupils’ work.

Mr Whytock was delighted to receive Mr Demarco and commented: “This is quite an accolade for Buckhaven.

“I’m not arty, but Demarco is quite a persona and this is not the kind of thing he does every day, so it is great that he has come here to Buckhaven.”

Mr Demarco is an advocate of the arts and art education across the world, and told the Mail: “I regard myself as an educator or a school teacher and, if given the choice of working in the world of arts or education, I would choose education.”

He added: “I believe you can’t expect the highest standards in art to be in degree shows – you can’t ignore the process of art education in Primary School and High School.”

Viewing the pupils’ hard work, which has now been submitted to the SQA for marking, he said he could “easily” put some of the works up for inclusion in the Edinburgh Festival in August.

Mr Demarco (84) has been heavily involved with the Edinburgh Festival for decades and fondly remembered being “overwhelmed” as a youngster by its enormity.

Gillian McLaren, art teacher at Buckhaven, who has been mentoring the sixth year advanced higher students through their final year, was extremely grateful to have welcomed Mr Demarco and his deputy director, Terry Ann Newman, to the school.

She said: “I really enjoyed the Demarco visit and feel thorougly priviliged that he decided to visit.

“Demarco has made such an impact on the art world, particularly in Scotland, and has given the pupils and myself a very interesting insight into his unique thoughts and perspective on the art world, one that adds to our appreciation of modern day art.

“I was very grateful for Demarco’s personal interest in the pupils on the day of his visit; he built their confidence as he enthused over their artwork, saying ‘He’d never seen anything like it’.

“This was especially moving considering Demarco has been collecting an extensive variety of artwork for over 50 years, and is a member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour.”