In the early 2000s, an interest in redeveloping Colfax brought City resources to bear on Auroraʼs original downtown. Redevelopment efforts included the expansion of the Aurora Fox Arts Center and the construction of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. The addition of new low-income housing, along with some private reinvestment in the area, re-established East Colfax Avenue as one of many commercial hubs in Aurora.
In 2010, artists working in the area came together to form the East End Arts District. This grassroots initiative engaged art and culture groups to raise awareness of area artistic offerings and market the District. In 2012, the Aurora Cultural Art District (ACAD) became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The District was created to support existing creative locations like the Aurora Fox Arts Center, Vintage Theatre Productions and Kim Robards Dance and to foster additional art venues in the downtown area, creating an amenity and outlet for the surrounding neighborhoods.
Today the organization is lead by a part-time Managing Director. It is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of local artists, directors of art organizations, and business and community members. The District benefits from 10 business members, 20 art-focused partner organizations, and 8 artists who rent studios at 1400 Dallas. Recent years have seen substantial growth in the District. In 2013, the District hosted 75,000 people. Last year, ACAD saw over 112,000 visitors. District locations are noticing a larger audience and participation in their programs. The 1400 Dallas building is completely rented. It is serving as a District hub with a full schedule of events, rehearsal, performance and gallery shows. Attendance at 1400 Dallas has grown from 450 visitors in 2012 to close to 10,000 in 2016.