I adjusted my knit tie and stepped into the front door of 540WMain. Immediately, I was taken by the humble and beautifully simple space on The City of Rochester’s often underappreciated west side. The whole vibe felt almost like a cafe, putting me at ease while inspiring with an eclectic style and beautiful art. I was greeted by a kind young woman who offered me a brief tour of the place, making me feel right at home.
540WMain is an organization that works to connect Rochester residents with key issues in the community, such as preservation, sustainability, workforce development and anti-racism. Founder and Executive Director Calvin Eaton has worked hard to create a physical space that welcomes lectures, discussions and community conversations, as well a strong social media presence that is beginning to gain traction across the Greater Rochester Area.The mission is not easy… Calvin and his team dig deep into some of Rochester’s most difficult topics, such as gentrification and race relations. But it’s grassroots efforts like these that are slowly changing the often polluted tides that work against underrepresented populations, especially in our urban cores. The 540WMain team does a beautiful job at creating a space where these issues can be discussed positively in a comforting and inspiring environment.
My “Intro to Urbanism” lecture went very well. I always love talking to smaller groups in more intimate settings like this one. I’ll be teaching this class again, for anyone who is interested, on May 13th (sign up today!). Organizations like 540WMain deserve our attention, our respect, and our backing. The deepest cuts in our communities and the most difficult issues we face going forward are the ones we need to engage first if we want our cities to become the sustainable and equitable centers of culture, diversity and opportunity I know they can be.
** This post was originally published in The Urban Phoenix blog**