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In his efforts to rebrand the Aurora Cultural Art District on East Colfax Avenue, ACAD managing director Tracy Weil is hoping to interest both the adjacent community and the metro-area arts community at large in taking a second look at the close-knit district where, he notes, affordable spaces can still be found. “If people like what they’re seeing, maybe they’ll consider moving their studios into the district,” Weil says. “We’re throwing out a welcome mat to come and engage with the district.”

To that end, Weil and ACAD boardmember Satya Wimbush have also sought to rebrand the district’s annual Aurora Arts Festival, tweaking it to better showcase what’s really going on in the arts in downtown Aurora.

This year’s fest, a district-wide street party and art walk taking place from noon to 5 p.m. today, really focuses on the area’s resident arts groups — theater companies, galleries, studios and cultural centers alike. And the theme — “Play” — functions as the festival’s pied piper.

The Banyan Tree Whittier Drum Project will kick things off with a drum circle; later, on the main stage in Fletcher Plaza, Aurora-based theater companies Vintage, Ignite and the Athena Project will perform dramatic samplers, while organizations like Downtown Aurora Visual Arts invite festival-goers to play and create with art materials in the square. Literal play can be had in a kids’ zone of bouncy houses and the like, and Kim Robards Dance will entertain with pop-up performances and free dance lessons. A beer garden and food trucks will serve up sustenance and drink, and if the sun gets too hot, several galleries will be hosting open houses throughout the day.

Arts-festival central is at Fletcher Plaza, 9898 East Colfax Avenue in Aurora. Admission is free; for more information, visit auroraarts-district.com or ACAD’s Facebook page.
Sat., June 29, 12-5 p.m., 2013

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