Santa Cruz Good Times

Oct 06th
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In Recovery

AE_MarcYokoDaliLocal benefit held for artist Marc Gould
When a vacation in the Mt. Hamilton countryside ended tragically on Sunday, June 27 with a fire and three friends being airlifted to a trauma center for second- and third-degree burns, few people thought 57-year-old Aptos artist Marc Gould would never paint again, let alone survive.

Fortunately, after three skin grafting procedures for his arms and hands, and a great amount of pain medication, Marc left the hospital on July 13 and is undergoing physical therapy in Oakland.

Since the accident, the Santa Cruz art community has rallied behind him and organized a benefit art show in his honor to be held at The Mill Gallery on Aug. 6. At the exhibition, guests will hear live music, have the opportunity to purchase some of Marc’s art or other community artists’ works and participate in a raffle with prizes donated by local businesses. All proceeds will go to Marc’s recovery costs, hospital bills and living expenses.

“It’s going to be a celebration of Marc and the people who have been supportive of him,” says Noah, his 27-year-old son and fellow artist, who will curate the exhibition. “I think it has helped him to heal a lot, knowing that people are in his corner.”

The fire that put Marc, Noah, and their friend Glen Kimmel in critical condition erupted at a cabin on Sawtooth Road where Marc’s wife Kim Dowling, friend Gary Ruble, two other companions and them were staying for the weekend. The incident occurred when Marc mistook an unlabeled jug of lamp oil for a jug of water when making coffee on the stove. When the liquid steamed, Marc picked up the saucepan to pour and an explosion occurred, engulfing the kitchen, him and Kimmel. Noah’s second-degree burns were the result of putting out the flames on his father. Kimmel remains at the hospital in serious condition due to the third-degree burns on his legs, though friends believe he is on the mend.

Marc has made a name for himself since moving to Santa Cruz in 1975, with a signature artistic style that he calls “Shamandada,” which was inspired by the Dada movement that peaked in popularity around 1916 and mocked the futility of the modern world, as well as the metaphysical dealings of a Shaman.

“I do not have to make art that is fashionable or that goes with your couch,” says Marc. “I have the luxury of not having to work in any particular style or medium, to only create what I want to, not making statements about politics or the spiritual.”

While Marc’s family hopes that he will be well enough to attend the benefit, for now, they are taking his recovery one day at a time. “There will be some progress and some setbacks,” says Dowling, who is optimistic about her husband’s healing.

Nevertheless, Ruble, who has known Marc since the late ’70s through both artistic and construction endeavors, has no doubt that his friend will bounce back from this trauma with the same enthusiasm that used to take him to the top of mountains for the perfect photo opportunity. “He always has a smile on his face,” says Ruble. “And I think that’s why he’s had such miraculous improvement in the hospital.”

To learn how you can help the Gould family during this difficult time, visit Marc Gould’s blog at, and/or stop by the Mill Gallery, 131 Front St., Santa Cruz, on Friday, Aug. 6 at 6 p.m. for the fundraiser and free exhibition. The artwork will remain on display through Aug. 15.

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