Melanie is the Gold at the end of the Rainbow. She was an awesome mother, sister, friend, pal, confidant and sexy woman about town. She used her restless boundless energy and influence to connect the artistic community to collectors, philanthropists, media and the public. She constantly leveraged her talents with those she recognized and wanted to see recognized in both the artistic community and the greater community. This was the spirit that embodied her energy in the variety of roles that she took on in the artistic community in Vancouver for the past thirty years.
Melanie excited many individuals to reconsider their own boundaries of personal expression. Her radiant spirit and keen interest in the art of living and experiencing continues to make others want to see through her eyes and touch life through her fingers.
Melanie was Alice in Wonderland. Waking every morning with a new set of eyes, she looked forth with excitement, inquisitiveness and youthful exuberance. Just like a kid who likes to colour outside the lines, Melanie’s influence and place in arts organizations and community was often profoundly complex and not easily understood. A perfect example of this is her relationship with Arts Umbrella. She started as a volunteer and recognized the incredible importance that Arts Umbrella has in our community for developing and nurturing children, artists and the creative spirit. What began as a volunteer position morphed into her becoming a vital staff person as a recruiter, promoter, marketer, fundraiser, costume designer, programmer, mentor and ultimately Assistant Executive Director. This continually evolving place that she created for herself at Arts Umbrella allowed that organization to develop, flourish and reach the incredible level that it now enjoys. She has also been a significant benefactor.
Simultaneously, Melanie took on an enormous personal project – Great Work!. This book is a gorgeous portfolio of forty-five British Columbia visual artists whom Melanie believed in. She funded, produced and promoted this book .She took great care that it presented a sophisticated body of work and that it was an art piece in and of itself.
Melanie was a profoundly intelligent, creative and accomplished multi-tasker. This served her well in her role as Chair Person of the Canadian Craft and Design Museum while at the same time, creating a tribute to public sculpture in Israel. Her magnificent photographic exhibit toured the corners of the earth.
Melanie wore many, many pairs of glasses and saw life’s exquisite offerings through many eyes. She generously shared this vision.
She is a little sprite that showers gold dust and sparkles of light and warmth, pure, sweet and gentle. She became a warrior, waging insurmountable obstacles in her fight for her health, not with anger but with poise, grace, determination and most of all heart. When most would curl into the comfort of their minds and be fearful of the reality of life, Melanie turned her experience into pragmatic ways of helping others. Confronted with her own mortality she and one of her two wonderful daughters began a project called Choosing Joy to assist and support others in their own battles with life threatening illnesses.
Melanie was great fun. Someone her family, both biological and chosen, could be crazy with, trust and love. “Silly or die” was her call. Her legendary parties continued into Palliative Care where her laughter and love of life affected the whole ward. Her parties live on.
by David Holtzman and friends
“Change the way your world looks, try seeing it with new eyes,
and you will change the way you feel about it”
from Choosing Joy
Melanie Sara Joy Gold was born in Vancouver on April 24, 1953 and died from metastasis melanoma November 11, 2003 in Palliative Care at St. Paul’s Hospital Vancouver.