In the otherwise comprehensive overview by John Seven, "2012: The year in area art" (Friday, Jan. 4, page A6), with a focus on the arts in North Adams and Williamstown, there is no mention of the Eclipse Mill Gallery, its Ralph Brill Gallery, or the singular efforts of Riverhill Pottery artists Gail and Phil Sellers.
With 40 live/studio spaces, residents of the Eclipse Mill have a significant impact on the economic and cultural life of North Adams.
The Eclipse Mill Gallery is a significant resource in a range of exhibitions, many with broad-reaching community impact. There is a lively mix of exhibitions organized, staffed and funded entirely by Eclipse residents. In the past two years, Ralph Brill, who also operates an independent gallery in the mill, has organized several museum-level exhibitions. One of these, focused on the history of child labor in the region, "The Mill Children," has traveled to area museums. Last summer, he showed photographs by the renowned photographer Leonard Freed, a selection from the book "The Italians" and an exhibition that is traveling internationally.
Gail and Phil Sellers are the organizers of Art About Town, which has created abstracted crosswalk designs in various locations. With Brill, they initiated the colorful images based on dolls printed and produced by Arnold Print Works, which preceded Sprague Electric and its current incarnation, Mass MoCA. In October, Phil Sellers organized Open Studios, an annual event for the city.
Based on a recent annual tax increase of some 10 percent, Eclipse residents pay about four times the assessment on Walmart. While corporate America gets a sweetheart deal, the grassroots efforts of a committed community of artists doesn’t rate a mention by the hometown paper of record.