CLUES celebrates expansion


Dayton’s Bluff nonprofit Comunidades Latinas en Servicio, or CLUES, celebrated the grand opening of its headquarters expansion on July 31. The 19,000 square-foot addition include a teen tech center, kitchen, elder center, classrooms and offices. (Marjorie Otto/Review)

The expansion also includes a new art gallery, which will feature Minnesota-based Latino artists. It’s open to the public and will host a number of events in addition to art. (Marjorie Otto/Review)

The nonprofit Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio, also known as CLUES, celebrated the grand opening of its headquarters expansion on July 31. 

The build added 19,000 square feet to the nonprofit’s headquarters on East Seventh Street in Dayton’s Bluff, more than doubling its space, which is shared with the Mexican Consulate. 

Founded in 1981, CLUES serves more than 35,000 Latino people each year from throughout Minnesota and the midwest. Its programs and services include career and financial coaching, cultural and civic engagement, education services for youth and adults, and health and wellbeing services. 

As part of its expansion, the building will now include a teen tech center supported by Best Buy, numerous classrooms and office space and an elder center. 

Ruby Lee, president of CLUES, said one of the new programs to be offered is senior programming, specifically to get isolated Latino elders connected with young people.

The new addition also includes an art gallery, one of Minnesota’s only that’s Latino focused.

“We’ve dreamt of lifting the Latino narrative, and culture and art is a part of that,” Lee said. “It’s essential to the fabric of the work we want to build here.”

Artwork in the gallery is curated by Aaron Johnson-Ortiz, a Twin Cities artist known for work including the Twin Cities Worker Solidarity mural. Now working as CLUES’ Latino arts and cultural engagement liaison, Johnson-Ortiz also served as an artist in residence at the East Side Freedom Library. 

The art gallery, located just off the front entrance on East Seventh Street, is open to the public during weekdays and by appointment. 

The opening exhibit, called “Visualiz(arte),” includes 31 Minnesota-based artists whose work explores Latinidad — being Latino. 

A variety of events will be held in conjunction with the exhibit, including a Thursday, Sept. 12, opening reception and poetry night; creation of a community altar for Dia de los Muertos on Thursday, Oct. 10; and a panel discussion with the chair of Chicano and Latino Studies at the University of Minnesota on Thursday, Nov. 14. 

More information can be found at www.clues.org.

The $7.5 million expansion, funded by public and private cash, finished on budget despite opening later than expected, said CLUES Chief Operations Officer Dale Dufault. 

Work started last August, which involved the demolition of a building next to CLUES. It was supposed to wrap up in March with a May grand opening, though unexpected challenges, such as buried streetcar lines, Dufault said, delayed the opening

 

–Marjorie Otto can be reached at 651-748-7816 or at eastside@lillienews.com.

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