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The German Football Association (DFB) on Monday rejected accusations by midfielder, Mesut Ozil over being racist.Newsmen recalls that Ozil claimed DFB officials turned him into “political propaganda” and declared he doesn’t wear the German jersey with pride.According to the newsmen, the DFB in a statement said, “We emphatically reject the DFB being linked to racism.“The DFB has been very involved in integration work in Germany for many years.”Ozil, who plays for English club, Arsenal, said DFB President Reinhard Grindel had blamed him for Germany’s poor performance at this year’s World Cup, considering him a German when the side won and an immigrant when they lost.
A gallery vistor looks at Karl Hatchett Jr.’s artwork Friday evening, Sept. 14 along East Colfax Avenue. This month’s art walk in the Aurora Arts District included the launch of a new lighting system on the exteriors of buildings along the strip, along with a formal dedication by Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel) Weil remembers walking from his home to the Aurora Fox theater when it was still a cinema to see the premiere of “Star Wars.” He recalls his routes through the sidestreets surrounding the Colfax corridor, the strolls from his home near 17th Avenue and Florence Street, near City Park and Aurora’s first fire station. Most of all, he remembers the walking.As the newly appointed manager of an arts district that’s seen its share of ups and downs in the past decade, Weil says that kind of accessibility is a key to the neighborhood’s future.“It has changed a lot, but there’s still the sense of neighborhood and community. There’s still the walkability,” said Weil, who starts as the managing director of the recently redubbed Aurora Cultural Arts District this week. “The people who are really going to appreciate this district the most are right in its backyard.”Weil, a painter, sculptor and public artist, now lives and works in the River North Art District, a trendy stretch of galleries, studios and shops he cofounded in an industrial neighborhood north of downtown Denver in 2005. Weil went on to work on branding and building the 40 West Arts District built around the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and the Edge Theatre in Lakewood. Weil’s newly formed position in his hometown is just one of many recent change-ups at the Aurora Cultural Arts District that ACAD leaders and local business managers say hint at a new era for the neighborhood.“I can actually see stuff happening,” said Charles Packard, executive producer at the Aurora Fox theater. “This is the first time that I’m involved in the push, and just being closer to it gives me more optimism … For me, having been here for 13 years, this feels like the real deal.”Beyond the new $200,000 lighting project that started in September, the face and feel of the district is starting to morph. Longtime anchors like the Aurora Fox theater, the Red Delicious Press and the Downtown Aurora Visual Arts gallery are still going strong, but the area also boasts new arrivals like the Vintage Theatre and the Collection gallery. Officials rolled out the new title of Aurora Cultural Arts District earlier this year, following the election of former Aurora lawmaker Bob Hagedorn as board president. What’s more, city officials announced this week that ACAD representatives put in a successful bid for the former TOSA gallery space at 1400 Dallas St. that will serve as a community arts center and Weil’s new headquarters.“There’s a pretty great infrastructure in place, as far as the connection between the neighborhood and the city of Aurora,” Weil said. “I come from a strong branding and marketing background … That is sort of my first step, to get my head around how they’ve been presenting themselves.”City officials say the changes in the district are part of a bigger resurgence along the stretch based on new retail spaces and economic development. The promise of a nearby light rail station and the upcoming expansion of Iola, Fulton and Kingston streets into the Stapleton neighborhood have also played a part.“I think what we’re seeing now is some very clear signs that healthy economic markets are resurging,” said Moira Dungan, a senior development project manager with the city. “I think there’s some pent-up demand. There’s a lot of interest from investors. I don’t know if it’s the new light rail or new streets, but markets have been pent up and there’s money available to do things.”Such hopeful visions may feel familiar for anyone who’s followed the progress of the neighborhood since the city created an urban renewal area in 2001. The city’s arts district has seen plenty of fits and starts. The past decade has seen the construction of the Martin Luther King Jr. Library on East Colfax Avenue and Dayton Street, as well as the Florence Square apartment buildings across the street. But starting in 2008, the recession put its own pressures on the area. Venues like TOSA and the Shadow Theatre closed down, and artists like Kim Harrell and Theresa Anderson left their digs on East Colfax to find studio space elsewhere.But in the past year, the district has been on a kind of rebound, hosting events, festivals and shows that have drawn audiences from Denver and beyond. The Aurora Fox has hosted cutting-edge shows and regional premieres, productions that have garnered awards and acclaim from Denver newspapers and television stations. The Vintage Theatre has had its own critical successes with shows like “RFK,” and even the new gallery dubbed “The Collection” at 9801 E. Colfax Ave. has drawn attention for its ambitious mix of artwork, classes and live music.Before its most recent reinvention as “The Collection” last year, the building served as a home base for a community art project led by Denver artist Phil Bender. But under the guidance of manager Satya Wimbish, the small space next to the Florence Apartments has started bringing in bigger crowds.“I want people to want to come back, to come work on their art work or their music. I want to allow people who wouldn’t usually have an opportunity a chance to be able to display their work,” Wimbish said. “We’re at a place now where we’ve got people coming together again and getting excited about the district and getting excited and wanting to be involved.”But Dungan said the new energy is just part of a longer process that started with the creation of an urban renewal district in 2001 and continued with construction projects like the Martin Luther King Jr. Library and the Florence Square apartments.“I don’t think these things are linear, they’re a spiral,” Dungan said. “We’ve been exercising the same strategies. I just think the environment has shifted.” Gallery vistors look at Morgan Barbary’s artwork Friday evening, Sept. 14 along East Colfax Avenue. This month’s art walk in the Aurora Arts District included the launch of a new lighting system on the exteriors of buildings along the strip, along with a formal dedication by Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel) Tracy Weil, an artist and co-founder of the RINO Arts District in Denver, will start as the new managing director of the Aurora Cultural Arts District this week. Weil’s newly formed position in his hometown is just one of many recent change-ups at the Aurora Cultural Arts District, shifts that ACAD leaders and local business managers say hint at a new era for the neighborhood. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel) AURORA | This 16-block stretch of East Colfax Avenue wasn’t so different when Tracy Weil was a kid going to West Middle and Aurora Central High schools. Reach reporter Adam Goldstein at [email protected] or 720-449-9707