La Mesa Launches A New Concept Art Gallery

EL CAJON BOULEVARD -- Only the colorful balloons on this rough-and-tumble street suggested something different was happening here Friday night.

At the La Mesa Biz Center on El Cajon Boulevard near 73rd, people parked and found their way back to an entrance that look pretty much like a business office.

Once inside, however, it was clear that this was, for La Mesa, a new concept in business -- a symbiotic relationship between small business entrepreneurs and artists.

The walls of the hallways, meeting rooms and offices are lined with art selected by the proprietors of The St. Clair Gallery.

Though business was being conducted here just hours before by a number of small companies, by 7 p.m. this looked very much like an art gallery. Interesting paintings and sculptures lined the walls and hallways.

In some ways it is disorienting. We are used to creating special places for our public art -- pristine galleries on the upside, museums or at least struggling versions on the downside.

But here is a new mix -- a gallery that enriches a business environment by day and engages the art community by night.

Phil Mann, manager of the business center, said he and his partners saw this mixing of metaphors as a way of making their facility more attractive than small businesses could usually afford while bringing traffic from the arts community and awareness of their business.

"It brought in all these people,'' Mann said Friday while manning the shared reception desk. "That's good for us.''

Mann offers the full range of business support from simply a mailbox address for home businesses that prefer a business address to regular office space and meeting rooms.

On Friday, Midge Hyde, the doyen of the St. Clair, hosted an opening to an eclectic show that drew literally dozens of art lovers from throughout East County. A ceaseless marketer, Hyde, an artist herself, had to be happy with a turnout that La Mesa Boulevard locations would have been ecstatic to have.

"Just a lovely evening,'' she said while visiting over the food and dessert table with friends and fellow artists.

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Tags: Arts, El Cajon Boulevard, La Mesa, La Mesa Biz Center, La Mesa Today, La Mesa news, La Mesa newspaper, Midge Hyde, Phil Mann

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Comment by Michael Cargill on April 25, 2012 at 10:58pm

Will the gallery be open every Friday evening?

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