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Opening night at NEXT Gallery’s Casa Bonita Art Show, “Mi Casa Es Su Casa,” was a rollicking, good time for those unbothered by a throng of bodies packed into a rather tight space.

Art lovers and hipsters of all ages came to have a drink, share a laugh, take a selfie and check out pieces created by artists across the country.  This is the fifth year for the gallery show, featuring works inspired by the iconic Mexican restaurant  that has carved out a place in pop culture history. 

Bobby Nathan won an award for his space themed “CASA,”— think NASA, installation. His friends, Jess Bergeman and Eileen  O’Brien, called the show a special event for the community, while giving a special shout-out to Andrew Novick, a well-known Casa Bonita booster who rallied to save the pink palace before its recent purchase by South Park creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. 

Artist and show curator Betsy $B Rudolph said she was worried that last year’s COVID-interrupted version might have made interest in this year’s  show fizzle — something that clearly did not happen. 

“I think people were waiting for its return,” Rudolph said. “And artists are telling me they’re already planning pieces for next year’s show.”

“Mi Casa Es Su Casa” will have an extended five-week run. So, if you missed out on the opening night soireé, you can still catch it at Lakewood’s NEXT Gallery through March 20.