by Edith Cody-Rice
Several hundred people gathered on Mill Street in the hot Monday sun to view the solar eclipse.
Adults and children mingled, sporting eclipse shades or pinhole cameras made from cereal boxes, while Sivarulrasa Gallery owner Sanjeev Sivarulrasa tutored visitors in the skill of looking through the six sophisticated telescopes on site.
Sanjeev Sivarulrasa and friends started the project in a bid to bring the town together in an event that combined nature, art, science, culture and community spirit. He took the idea to the town, which embraced it, and local merchants and institutions jumped in to create a true community event.
Musicworks provided the Eclipse Band, Mill Street Books featured astronomical pamphlets and books, Don’s Meat Market BBQ’d lunches, The Mississippi Valley Textile Museum had a booth,Mississilli Faces painted faces, Cheerfully Made made pinhole camera and the town supplied tents and water and insurance for the event. Ultramar donated the old gas station site.
Sanjeev is himself an artist who is fascinated with the night sky and observes and photographs it with telescopes. His gallery on Mill Street currently features artists Deborah Arnold, Dale Dunning, Susan Low-Beer, Marina Malvada, as well as himself in an exhibit titled Eclipse.
Sanjeev said this event helps extend the town’s brand as a cultural centre and Mill Street as a place where “cool things” happen.