Pelinka hired to boost city's creative profile

Alejandra Pelinka has been hired as Bloomington's first creative place-making and engagement director. She will facilitate the work of a new Creative Placemaking Commission and work with the city's nonprofit partner, Artistry, and other stakeholders to implement a creative place-making plan adopted last year.

Her job will be to help the city build its regional brand and identify the art, culture and design investments that will best support the evolution of a distinctive, walkable, urban neighborhood in Bloomington's South Loop.

Pelinka previously was executive director of the northeast Minneapolis Arts Association, where she was responsible for the general management of the organization and its regionally acclaimed events, including Art-A-Whirl, the largest open studio tour in the country.

Mpls. St. Paul magazine named Pelinka one of 26 local Scene Shapers, "integral to making the [Minnesota art] scene tick."



Westonka museum celebrates expansion

The Westonka Historical Society will host a grand reopening of its museum on June 4 to celebrate its expansion. The Mound-based museum has rearranged and expanded its displays.

The museum is known for its display of more than 200 Tonka Toys, which were originally built at a Mound plant. The collection draws visitors from across the country, and the museum even hosts Tonka employee reunions.

The special event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 4.

The historical society includes the communities of Mound, Minnetrista, Spring Park, Navarre/Orono and Minnetonka Beach. For more details, go to



Best Buy's Nelson wins 2016 Commuter Choice Award from Met Council

Brian Nelson, who heads Best Buy's commuter benefits program, has been honored with a 2016 Commuter Choice Award from the Metropolitan Council.

Nelson advocated for and then helped implement a pretax commuter benefit program that allows Best Buy employees to pay for their transit costs with pretax dollars.

Officials say the number of employees who use transit, carpool and vanpool has risen as a result of his efforts.

Nelson was named the winner in the individual category of the annual awards program. He has worked to enhance and expand benefits for employees at Best Buy's Richfield headquarters and at locations across the country.



Board OKs $4 million renovation to expand chemical and mental health assistance

The Hennepin County Board last week approved the $4 million renovation of the county's chemical health services center in south Minneapolis for people needing detoxification or mental health care.

According to officials, the project will expand the number of beds in the detox space from 50 to 65 — an addition of 5,900 square feet — and enable the withdrawal program to offer care that is clinically managed or medically managed.

The average length of stays for at least one-third of clients is expected to drop from two days to one.

The mental health crisis program will add 8,300 square feet for a 16-bed residential stabilization unit. The program is designed to redirect from hospitals low-level offenders who need mental health care.

"These efforts are a significant step forward and present opportunities for further innovation," said Leah Kaiser, an area manager.

Construction is expected to be finished by September 2017.

Kevin Duchschere


Donations sought for "Art from the Attic" sale

The Hopkins Center for the Arts is seeking donations of two-dimensional works for its "Art from the Attic" sale.

A donation form must accompany each piece; forms are available at the Hopkins Center or online at

Sculptures and other 3-D work will not be accepted.

Art donations can be dropped off at the Hopkins Center on from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on June 7, 14 and 21, or from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 11, 18 and 25.

All donated artwork will be sold at the annual event on July 9. The Hopkins Center is at 1111 Mainstreet.