LA MESA - The boutiquing of downtown La Mesa continues in ways big and small.
Thursday night the evidence of this was in the form of a guitarist performing outside a new art gallery as fashionably dressed young couple sipped wine and talked art.
The event was the opening of a display of the paintings of J. Kirk Richards of Provo, Utah, at Bella Mesa, a tasteful gallery that opened late last year.
The gallery is owned by Gabe Giordano, who is an owner of Gio's restaurant and wine bar directly across the street from Bella Mesa.
Giordano hired local guitarist Kice Simko to give background ambience while he welcomed friends and patrons to the eclectic collection of oils and representational art.
The gallery is starting to thrive after a rough start that included a flood caused by a water main break.
Six inches of water covered the floor in December and damaged 11 original works.
Giordano said he's still fighting with Helix Water over the damages.
But all was dry on this night except for the new paint Richards was applying and the wine that was flowing.
Visitors exchanged appreciation for the art and discussed art books and magazines on sale as well.
All in all - even amid a recession - signs of change and progress in the village.