Where Do I Park When Visiting 540WMain? | Updated

Where Do I Park When Visiting 540?

The #1 question we get is where to park at 540.  Rest assured we’ve got you covered!


When visiting before 5 PM:

Patrons visiting 540WMain between the hours of 9AM-5PM should use on street parking on West Main and Madison Street until further notice.

When visiting  5 PM and later:

We have our very own parking lot on the side of our building, with a beautiful mural on the wall painted by Wall Therapy & Her Voice Carries.  When you see the mural, you’ll know you’ve arrived at the right place!

There is also ample parking on the side of West Main Street directly in front of our building, as well as on King Street.

Directions to The 540WMain Parking Lot
  • “Coming from West Main Street, drive down King Street to Yak Alley,
  • Make a left on Yak Alley and then another left turn down Spies Alley”
  • Drive straight down Spies Alley until the alley way ends, and then turn right into the parking lot.
  • The west portion of the lot faces West Main Street, and you will see the mural as you continue to pull in.

540, Inc Partners with ROC Real Capital to Manage & Rebrand the Former Frederick Douglass Resource Center

We are pleased to officially announce our partnership with ROC Real Capital to manage and rebrand the Douglass Auditorium at 36 King St

Dear Community,

I’ve am so excited to finally share what is most likely one of our worst kept secrets ever. 540, Inc has partnered with real estate developer Matthew Druin owner of ROC Real Capital, LLC to manage the re-branded Douglass Auditorium at 36 King Street. Through this partnership Calvin Eaton will serve as the Director of the Douglass Auditorium and handle the day to day event management and booking of the theatre and art gallery space along with the 540, Inc team. The benefits of this partnership are two fold. 540WMain will have access to a larger space to hold lecture style courses and presentations. The community now has a  low cost, inclusive and accessible theatre space that is now available for rent by groups and organizations committed to the arts and social justice. The fact that the theatre lives right around the corner from 540WMain Communiversity is simply the icing on the cake. Matt Druin and I feel that this partnership will honor the original intent of the building and enrich the Susan B. Anthony neighborhood by bringing more arts and culture to the district.

What’s Next

The community should stay tuned for the launch of a dedicated website, Facebook page, and logo for the Douglass Auditorium. The website will be the main source of information for the space and be the portal for community members to see the master calendar and book the theatre for plays, lectures, and other events that are curated for a theatre environment.

Open House
We will have a First Friday Community Open House & Special Art Exhibit on Friday April 5th | 6pm-10pm

About the Douglass Auditorium

The Douglass Auditorium at 36 King Street (formerly Frederick Douglass Resource Center) is 80 person auditorium/theatre and event space operated by 540, Inc. Housed within the building are the headquarters of the pharmacy tech startup PharmAdva, LLC as well as office spaces that are open to be leased.
The mission of Douglass Auditorium to provide a low cost, inclusive and accessible theatre space to groups and organizations committed to the arts, culture and social justice.

About ROC Real Capital

Matthew Drouin, Owner is a full time real estate investor and REALTOR with 12 years of acquisition, disposition, development and management experience in Rochester, NY. Matt seeks to help others grow in their real estate investing career as well as serve communities with the best real estate service available. Learn more: www.rocrealcapital.weebly.com

What Happened to the Frederick Douglass Resource Center

The Frederick Douglass Resource Center opened in 2009 and was a not-for-profit, cultural organization and community center committed to articulating the life and legacy of Frederick Douglass and sharing African American heritage and culture. The Center was suppose to offer cultural tours, invigorating programs, dramatic interpretations, and historical reenactments to bring to life African American history and social movements for positive change. The facility originally  included the  auditorium with a seating capacity of 80, exhibit space, a computer lab, and a reference library. The building was constructed on the site of what was once the West Side School for Boys with public and private funding including grants from Wegmans, The City of Rochester and more.

About $1 million in funding went into establishing the Frederick Douglass Resource Center, but the building and the intentions never quit took off. Errol Hunt, who was the property owner and former pastor of Rochester’s African Methodist Zion Church said in a statement in 2018 : “We have not found the funds to keep it open, maintain some type of a staff and therefore you have ceased operations.  However the center was vacant for most of it’s tenure and never materialized into the community and cultural institution for what it was built. Chamber of Commerce CEO Bob Duffy was the mayor when the Douglass Resource Center opened. He says it was supposed to house artifacts of the abolitionists but for reasons that are unclear, the resource center sat vacant for most of it’s tenure until it was sold in late 2018.



This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Photo credits: Michele Ashlee


How big is the auditorium/theatre?
The Douglass Auditorium seats approximately 80 people.
Is the building and theatre accessible?
The building is accessible as well as the theatre and bathrooms. All spaces open to the community are accessible?
How much does it cost to book the theatre for events? 
  • The basic rental fee for the auditorium is $350 per event/use.
  • The art gallery space is available for $55 per hour ( and can only host photoshoots)
Why types of events are best suited for the theatre?
The only space available for event rental is the 80 seat theatre. The theatre is best suited for lectures, presentations, small plays, screenings, and panel discussions. The art gallery is available for photoshoots only.
When is the auditorium open for a walk through? 
The auditorium is available for walk through by appointment. Beginning Friday April 5th the theatre and art gallery will be open the first Friday of every month.
What are the general amenities of the auditorium? 
  • public wifi
  • seating for 80
  • accessible facility and theatre seating
  • projection and A/V
How can I reserve the Douglass Auditorium?
Individuals looking to rent Douglass Auditorium should contact Calvin Eaton, Executive Director of 540WMain at info540westmain@gmail.com // 5850-420-8439 or submit the webform below:


  1. Million dollar Douglass center sits vacant | Spectrum News 
  2. Susan B. Anthony Walking Tour
  3. Roc Parent 

Kappell Incident a Wake-up Call for All of Us | Guest Blog by Rebecca Johnson

Kappell Incident a Wake-up Call for All of Us | Guest Blog by Rebecca Johnson

The turmoil surrounding weathercaster Jeremy Kappell’s statements on WHEC-TV last week raises significantly bigger issues about our city than just the nature of one individual’s brief verbalization. I’ve been listening to and reading about the opinions of white people and of people of color. According to comments I’ve read, the preponderance of white folks seem to think that Kappell did not intentionally say the word “coon”. Some do acknowledge the possibility that Kappell may be racist and that he may have accidentally let private sentiments show, as in a Freudian slip. But most whites have trouble believing that Kappell – whether “racist” or not – would think it professionally safe to utter such a word on TV in Rochester.

Many African-American commenters think Kappell did utter the word intentionally. In other words, their experiences in Rochester are so permeated by racism that they think Kappell would think it is OK here in Monroe County to say this on TV. People may never agree on whether Kappell said the word intentionally. But I’d like to hope we can agree on what is glaringly obvious: Most white folks have no idea how painful and frightening it is for African-American commenters to live with the racism they experience every day in Rochester. (And their pain, fear, and justified anger are compounded by the deep and horrible history of racism in the US).

If the experiences of reasonable, well-intended African-Americans in Rochester make them think that a well-known white weather reporter can get away with saying “Martin Luther Coon King” here in Rochester – and if the experiences of reasonable, well-intended white Rochesterians lead them to think intentionally saying in this would be career suicide here – then ALL Rochesterians urgently need to pay attention.

The many ugly racist remarks that have been made about this incident provide unarguable proof that racism is indeed alive, pervasive, and very dangerous in Rochester. Our community needs to address:

  1. The deep divide between the perceptions of racism by people of color and by white folks, because of our lack of contact with each others’ very different experiences, and
  2. The serious threat that racism presents to the well-being and very lives of Rochester’s people of color.

But it’s not just people of color. Racism severely threatens the future of all of us. It is urgent for the future of our entire community that we see this for what it is and change it. Please watch for upcoming opportunities to discuss this and other experiences of race in Rochester. We must learn the truth about each others’ lives – and then we must take action.

Additional Reading

  1. What did that meteorologist say that got him fired? Listen to Jeremy KappellDemocrat & Chronicle

  2. New York meteorologist fired after using racial slur on air : CNN

  3. ‘OMG I Didn’t Mean It Like That!’: Intent vs. Impact, Which Matters? : Only Black Girl

  4. What Does White Supremacy Look Like : 540WMain

About Rebecca

Rebecca Johnson is a Rochester resident and community leader.

Top 10 Most Viewed 540Blog Posts of 2018

The best thing about 540, Inc for me is not only our dedication to people centered spaces but our digital content. 540’s diverse array of digital content is what truly makes our organization special. From twitter, to Facebook to instagram, and 540Blog learning is the foundation of all we do and at the core is powerful thought provoking content.  This best of list includes The Top 10 Most Viewed 540 Blog Posts of 2018.

Top 10 Most Viewed 540Blog Posts of 2018

10. Speaking Out Is Scary | In 2019 Do It Anyway 

by Calvin Eaton | (84 views)

9. Why Black Male Representation Matters In Education

by Calvin Eaton | (89 views)

8. A Child Who Lived with Autism: Why Person First Language Matters

by Calvin Eaton | (93 views)

5. Spotting Our Own White Privilege 

by Erin Egloff | 230 views

4. I’m White and I Screw Up a Lot 

by Erin Egloff | 267 views


2. An Open Letter to St. John Fisher President Gerard J. Rooney

by Calvin Eaton | (1,717 views)

1. An Open Letter to Arena’s Inc. 

by Calvin Eaton | (4,401 views)

An Open Letter to Arena’s Inc. | by Calvin Eaton

An Open Letter,

Dear Arena’s Inc.

It was with great joy that I made a casual visit to your East End location this past Friday. With vacation time on my side I could finally cross your prolific gift shop and floral boutique off my grew up in Rochester but never visited list. Initially this visit was pleasant and business as usual from a local neighborhood establishment. A friendly greeting from the front desk clerk, my eyes wide and in awe after circling the lower level and gazing at all the gifts, trinkets, and plants in abundance; thinking who would be the best recipient of a well thought out gift from a local staple. It wasn’t until I attempted to venture upstairs that my visit ultimately led to this letter.

Before I could set foot on the top step, I was hastily stopped by a gentleman that approached me from behind friendly yet firmly telling me that before I could wander the second floor, I would have to remove my shoulder bag and set it behind the front counter. I initially gave pause to the request but in place of “making a scene” or seeming difficult quickly agreed to the request with a smile. Had it not been for the sole other patron in the shop, I more than likely would not have given this interaction a second thought. You see this middle aged white woman had also wandered from the first to second floor with not one but two bags on her shoulders. She apparently hadn’t been sequestered to remove her everyday luggage and was allowed to shop uninterrupted and without the same scrutiny as I, a black young black man had received. This scenario on the surface seems rather trivial. What is the big deal you may ask? But after reflecting on the situation and facts from my vantage point for the rest of my visit and into the rest of my day; several issues and unanswered questions remain.

Was I racially profiled? Is the most pressing question that I was left with after exiting your store. This burden in itself is tough enough as a man of color but even more disconcerting facing it after leaving an establishment that is literally down the street and around the corner from where I live, work, and walk daily.

The second question is: Why wasn’t the female customer also asked to remove her bag before she was allowed to the second floor? Did your two staff members miss her by mistake? How could this be since the two of us were the only customers in the store at the time?

Additionally, if this is standard practice and policy why is there no posted signage informing customers about the no bag policy? Why was I treated differently in that moment from another customer?

I don’t have the answers to these questions. Only theories based on anecdotal evidence. However this incident and these thoughts are daily burdens that black and brown residents have the burden of facing as we navigate Rochester spaces and increasingly; East End establishments that are quite literally gentrifying right before our eyes.

I write this letter not to accuse but to take a stand for myself and many others who have encountered similar treatment in Arena’s and other places in Rochester but chose to remain silent. This and many other microaggressions are one of many that happen daily that for the sake of being politically correct, for the sake of niceness, for the sake of turning the other cheek we are culturally forced to give establishments like yours the benefit of the doubt. Our silence leads to unanswered questions, broken egos, and hurt feelings. We vent to our friends. We vent on social media. We vow never to return again. But this silence fosters nothing but more complicity, more status quo, and more allowances for racism to fester and divide our City.

I write this letter openly to share my one experience. To be transparent and let others know that it is ok to speak up. To let you know that my voice matters. My feelings matter and that as a customer and more importantly as a human, I deserve to be treated the same as everyone else. I do not deserve to be treated differently, or thought of differently, because of the color of my skin.

This letter is a letter to foster positive yet difficult conversation on how we as a community both in the East End and at large are treating each other through our daily interactions and in the policies we create and promote in our places of business. I hope that your staff and owners join me in this conversation.



Calvin Eaton

Founder & Executive Director

540WMain Communiversity

An Open Letter to St. John Fisher President Gerard J. Rooney

An Open Letter,

Dear President Rooney,

My name is Calvin Eaton and I am an antiracism educator, activist and founder of 540WMain Communiveristy (www.540westmain.org). I can say that like many in the Rochester community; I am appalled and angry at the public vandalism and desecration of the Douglass Statue by St. John Fisher students Charles Milks and John Boedicker.
As an university leader I am confident that you do not need me remind you of the legacy of Frederick Douglass in Rochester as well and the 200th anniversary celebration of his birth and legacy that these statues represent for our City. The fact that white students affiliated with St. John Fisher College would have the audacity to tarnish this celebration and legacy in such an abhorrent way is not only devastating but speaks to the need for more education, training, and awareness in the local college community and Rochester at large.
Even though these students and their actions are independent of the values espoused by St. John Fisher College we as a community hold you equally accountable for how your students interact with our community. This incident cannot be swept under the rug.
It is our hope that you plan to publicly speak on this incident, are transparent as to how these students actions will be addressed and will work with our community in making sure that an incident like this does not happen again. Civil Rights leaders fought for centuries to ensure that incidents like this are a thing of the past; yet here we are repeating history with white men that should know and be doing better.
Additionally, I am open to connecting you with partner organizations working to dismantle systemic racism in our community and beyond. As a University leader it is incumbent upon you to lead by example to ensure that all members of the St. John Fisher Community understand that this level of hatred and racism will not be tolerated.
We look forward to your reply and are watching closely.
With Love,
Calvin Eaton


**Announcement** 540 at The Yards Hiring Part-time Class Coordinator

We are pleased to announce that 540, Inc is seeking to fill the position of Part-Class Coordinator for our brand new satellite 540 at The Yards

About the Position

The Part-time Class Coordinator position is integral to the success of 540 at The Yards. A qualified candidate:

  • Will begin in February 2019
  • Must be able to work at the Rochester Public Market
  • Roughly 7-10 hours per week // on Sundays between 8am-3pm
  • 17+ (with valid work permit)
  • Must be able to submit atleast three professional references
  • Qualified candidates will have strong customer service skills, a dynamic personality, willing to work with strangers
  • Skills in food service, front desk, barista, are beneficial but not required

Ways to Apply

  1. Submit the form below
  2. Submit a cover letter and resume to info540westmain@gmail.com
  3. Call 585-420-8439

Download a PDF copy of job announcement  FLYER   

Download a PDF copy of Class Coordinator Job Description 

Now Hiring | Freelance Maker Community Educators | 540 at The Yards

Are you an artist and/or maker interested in community teaching?
540 at The Yards is seeking maker centric freelance educators for Sunday afternoons (1pm-3pm) in February and March 2019 to teach maker themed classes for children and adults.
Submit proposal to info540westmain@gmail.com or by using the form below:

^^ classes must range $15-$30 or less

540, Inc. Announces 1st Satellite Location | 540 at The Yards Beginning February 2019

We are pleased to announce 540, Inc.’s very first satellite location

540 at The Yards

540 at The Yards Announcement! from 540WMain Communiversity on Vimeo.

Watch the video above to learn more about this exciting partnership between 540, Inc. and The Yards. Learn more below and stay tuned for more details over the upcoming weeks.

Save the Date

540 at the Yards Launch Party | Sunday February 3, 2019 | 4pm-6pm

About 540 at The Yards

540 at The Yards is a satellite location of 540, Inc. focusing on low cost single session classes based in the arts and wellness.

Where is 540 at The Yards?

540 at The Yards is located within The Yards Collective. The mailing address is 50-52 Rochester Public Market Rochester, NY 14609

What is The Yards Collective?

The Yards Collective was created in 2011 as a collaborative art space founded by strong female identifying makers looking to offer a supportive artistic and inclusive space. The Yards Collective now operates under a dedicated director and hosts over a dozen permanent studio spaces along side a communal work space, gallery area, and wood-shop that are all available for rental. Learn more about The Yards Collective at their website: www.theyardsrochester.com

What happens at 540 at The Yards?

As a larger satellite classroom, 540 at The Yards hosts 540WMain Communiversity’s low cost single session classes every Sunday. These classes range from Hip Hop Cardio and All Abilities Yoga to Intro to Watercolor Painting and DIY Kombucha Making and more. In addition to classes, 540 at The Yards is a location of the gluten free chef’s Vegan/GF Pop Up Bakery which runs during the normal 540 at The Yards hours of operation.

What are the hours of operation?

540 at The Yards hosts classes every Sunday from 8:30-3:00PM

Is 540 at The Yards disability accessible?

At this time 540 at The Yards location is not accessible to community members with mobility needs or who utilize a wheelchair.

Why does 540WMain Communiversity need a satellite location? 

540WMain’s growth over the last two years facilitated the need for larger space than that exists at the Susan B. Anthony neighborhood location. This need espoused the original vision of 540WMain’s Founder to collaborate with other creatives, visionaries, and leaders and expand 540WMain into a brand (540, Inc.) that has satellite locations in underserved neighborhoods in Rochester and beyond. 540 at The Yards is the first site of this envisoned expansion. 

Will 540WMain still have classes?

Yes. 540WMain will still offer weekly classes, events, and programming rooted in:

  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Workforce Development
  • Historic Preservation

How can I apply to teach a class at 540WMain and/or 540 at The Yards?

Apply below using the form below

540WMain Receives Awesome Microgrant for Courtyard Teaching Garden

We are pleased to share that the Courtyard Teaching and Nutrition Garden has received a micro-grant from Awesome Foundation Rochester


The courtyard garden project started in 2016 and since then we have been slowly working on it’s completion in a very grassroots way. Co-designed with Jeff Frisch and Rawson Duckett the Courtyard Teaching and Nutrition Garden will serve as an auxiliary classroom for 540WMain as well as house our garden teaching and nutrition program. The $1000 micro-grant received from Awesome Foundation Rochester will move us one step closer to completing the project.

Join us in person for the official photo and check unveiling Wednesday October 31st at 11:30 AM at 540WMain 

Press Release

Brick-building takes on a new meaning for Calvin Eaton of 540WMain Communiversity, the second recipient of the Awesome Foundation Rochester’s $1000 micro-grant award. Funded to support Calvin’s work to complete the masonry for a courtyard teaching area, the space will set the foundation for an outdoor garden and education space.“We are so excited to finish this project and work with our community to create a
courtyard teaching garden,” said Calvin Eaton, Executive Director of 540WMain. “We can’t wait to start offering classes on growing your own food and learning more about nutrition. It is something that our Susan B. Anthony neighborhood is eager to enjoy.”

“We are delighted to fund Calvin’s awesome project that supports the health and vitality of the community,” said Jill Freeman, Dean of the Rochester chapter of the Awesome Foundation. “Calvin’s courtyard teaching and nutrition project was chosen because the trustees agreed that reducing food insecurity and promoting nutrition through gardening and other classes is pretty awesome.”

Created to ‘forward the interest of awesome in the universe $1000 at a time’, the Awesome Foundation Rochester is part of a global community of individuals who seek to spread awesome in their communities by personally funding awesome projects. Launched in 2009 by a
small group of Bostonian’s eager to spread joy in their hometown, the Awesome Foundation has grown to 89 chapters around the world that give $1000 grants to individuals in their communities, with no strings attached. This loose confederation shares ideas and best practices, but each chapter is autonomous, with money pooled from the coffers of ten trustees and distributed to winners via cash or check. There is no tax-deduction, no 501c3 status, and all funds are managed by individuals in the community willing to donate their money to support great local projects, quickly and easily, with as little paperwork and process as possible.

The Awesome Foundation Rochester will provide $1000 micro-grants every other month, and the next awardee will be chosen on December 18th. Anyone interested in submitting a creative, intriguing and awesome idea can fill out the simple online questionnaire at
https://www.awesomefoundation.org/en/chapters/rochester (the deadline for the December award is December 10th, 2018). Ms. Freeman launched the Awesome Foundation with co-deans Dan Schneiderman, co- chair of the Maker Faire Rochester, and Kelly Cheatle, Artistic Director of Airigami.

As Ms. Cheatle explained, “Too often an awesome idea gets stuck in the ‘idea’ stage simply due to lack of funding. We’re really excited about how accessible these grants are and we’re looking forward to unlocking more creative projects and other sparks of joy here in Rochester.”
Individuals with quirky, smile-inducing, curiosity-enabling, joy-making projects are strongly encouraged to apply. Awesome projects can be related to technology, art, science,community development, and more, and are only limited by the applicant’s imagination and

For more information and examples of other funded Awesome Foundation project around the world, go to https://www.awesomefoundation.org en and get inspired

Introducing 540WMain’s Tried & True Classes

Since 2016 540WMain Learning Academy has offered over 100 low cost classes and events for the Susan B. Anthony Preservation District and the Rochester community. During this time we have had hits and misses, trialed and erred and understand what classes work well in our communiversity™ at this time and which classes we might revisit later.

Below is a list of our Tried and True classes. These classes are offered most regularly in our community classroom and (for a fee) can be brought to your office, organization, classroom, or community space

**ASL interpreting can be arranged for all classes at an additional cost

Submit the webform below if you are interested in booking a private class at 540WMain or your organization:

American Sign Language for Beginners I & II | Instructor: Sarah Vitberg

Focuses on the basics of American Sign Language through fun interaction and socialization.
Students leave with a new appreciation for the language as well as resources to help them continue to grow as a beginner signer. This class is geared towards those 18 and older. (2hrs)
Black History Didn’t Start w/ Slavery: History We Never Learned | Instructor: Calvin Eaton
A candid and engaging workshop about the America history we never learned. (2hours)
Herbal Medicine Making | Instructor: Samantha Lynn
Samantha Lynn Owner/Operator of Wholistic Herbals discusses different ways to extract herbs and their constituents for health! Students learn how to make simple tinctures, teas, decoctions, and oil infusions. (2hrs)
Hip Hop Cardio | Instructor: Marcus Bowens
Students dance to hip-hop beats while burning crazy amounts of calories in the process. This class is perfect for all levels and those ages 12 and up. (1hour)
History of Veganism In Black Cultures | Instructor: Calvin Eaton
This workshop explores and deconstructs the history of vegan culture across black cultures throughout history in American and around the world and how the themes of blackness and veganism have intersected throughout the ages. (2hrs)
How to Be A Social Butterfly | Instructor: Calvin Eaton
Intro to Intersectional Feminism | Instructor: Mercedes Phelan
Explores the concept of feminism in the United States, the movement and its intersection with race, gender, class, and ethnicity. The history of the feminism movement and its exclusion and inclusion of non-white and non-cisgender women will be unpacked. Students are tasked with exploring their own personal biases and individual actions they can take to be more inclusionary in their feminist interactions. (2hrs)
Introduction to a Minimalist Lifestyle | Instructor: Amy Cavalier
Teaches the basic tenants of the concept of minimalism and how to move towards living a minimalist lifestyle one step at a time. Students explore tips on how to get to the bottom of all that clutter and find a way to re-purpose or ensure it will find reuse, rather than disposing of it in a landfill. This class combines classroom style presentation, audience sharing, and interactive learning. Students leave armed with the basics of beginning a personal minimalist journey. (1.5hrs)
Intro to Sugar Cookie Decorating | Instructor: Theresa Sloan
Students walk you through four simple and fun decorating techniques for their sugar cookie decorating needs. Students will learn about royal icing techniques and leave with a top notch sugar cookie recipe and infographic. Perfect for friends, partners, and parent/child pairs. (2hrs)
Infusing Honey for Health | Instructor: Samantha Lynn
Samantha Lynn Owner/Operator of Wholistic Herbals discusses different ways to extract herbs and into honey for medicinal use. (2hrs)
Introduction to African Drum Playing | Instructor: Joe Starling
Focuses on the identification and techniques used to play various traditional African drums and is taught by drummer Joseph Starling. (1hr)
Mental Health Disparities in Black Community
According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population.
Why is this the case?
What are some of the most common mental health disorders among African Americans?
What other mental health disparities exist in the black community and what can we do to change the statistics?
How can we begin to heal and erase the stigma associated with mental health in the black community?
This class explores the concepts listed above. (1.5hrs)
Spiritual Defense for People of Color | Instructor: Iya Brenda
Teaches how to incorporate simple spiritual practices that can help relieve stress, anxiety, and increase overall well-being, and provide spiritual protection.(2hrs)

Yoga Beats & Soul™Yoga Beats and Soul™ is a hybrid yoga and movement class designed to tone the body and ease the spirit. The class consists of basic asana posture, repetitive percussive movements, and some integrative flow to balance the demands of the asanas and recenter mental focus. YBS is beginner friendly and great for individuals that enjoy light cardio and free movement. (1hr)

Professional Classes

Intro to Writing for Black Women & Girls | Instructor: CaTyra Polland
Designed to teach women & girl writers of color how to start a career in writing and/or progressing to the publishing stage. (1hr)
Intro to Grant Writing | Instructor: Calvin Eaton
This presentation styled class teaches working professionals and business leaders the basics of writing grants that will get funded. Students learn about writing a solid needs statement, funding sources and the basics to writing grants that will be funded. This is a intro theory/information styled class **no actual grant writing will take place.(1.5hrs)

Intro to Resume Writing | Instructor: Calvin Eaton

This presentation styled class teaches working professionals the basics (do’s and dont’s) of writing successful resumes. This is a intro theory/information styled class **no actual resume writing will take place. (1.5hrs)

540WMain Seeks (High School) Baking Apprentice

Dear Community,

I am pleased to announce that 540WMain is officially hiring for a brand new internship position

Baking (Highschool) Apprentice Intern

About the Baking Apprentice

Under the direction and supervision of the Executive Director/ Gluten Free Chef (ED) the Baking Apprentice will learn and be able to understand the process of gluten free and vegan baking as it intersects with events and programs at 540WMain. The apprentice will assist in baking and baking production for in house events, pop up events, and community outreach events where baked goods are featured.

About the Apprenticeship

The Baking Apprentice will contribute to the successful development and growth of current and future culinary events and activities at 540WMain Community Learning Academy. Under the direction of the ED the apprentice will be taught the skills and experience needed to complete small batch gluten free and vegan baking. The apprentice will learn customer service, culinary, management, and small business management skills.

Length: Summer, Fall, and/or winter semesters 2018 | Unpaid | Credit bearing

Ideal candidates: Students interested in Customer Service, Baking, Culinary, Front Desk Management, and Pastry Production

We are soliciting notes of interest from local high school and home school students in Monroe County that have the following qualifications and more:

  • Ability to take direction with a positive attitude
  • A passion for serving people
  • Must be able to work under pressure and meet deadlines, while maintaining a positive attitude and providing exemplary customer service.

Learn more

To learn more about the internship those interested can download a copy of the internship description below:

Interview for the position

We are holding open interview for this apprenticeship Saturday June 16 // 12-2 PM at 540WMain. Parents and students interested should register by emailing info540westmain@gmail.com

Apply for the position

Please submit the web application below as well as a resume to info540westmain@gmail.com

Donald Trump Isn’t Racist? Come Up With Something Else by Calvin Eaton

A 540Monthly Membership ensures that we are able to create and curate low cost/high impact educational content and programming rooted in the arts, wellness, and antiracism.  If you love 540WMain consider becoming a 540Monthly Member today!

Donald Trump Isn’t Racist? Come Up With Something Else by Calvin Eaton

I originally submitted the following Feedback to City Newspaper in response to the opinion published by reader Brian Mckenzie from Henrietta in their August 28th issue. City didn’t publish my feedback so I’m sharing it here on 540Blog. I highly suggest reading Brian’s opinion here 
In response to Brian Mckenzie from Henrietta taking time to write an essay attempting to articulate why Donald Trump is not racist; I say: Can you come up with something else. This banal trope is as old as the structure of racism itself and as we approach 2020 those of us who have a semblance of common sense are better served to use our time to advocate for antiracism and a dismantling of the white supremacy culture that has allowed  tone deaf ideologies espoused in this “opinion” piece to proliferate in 2019. We are definitely better served to expend our time, words, and energy educating and enlightening those whose privilege has allowed them to passively benefit from the system of racism even though they themselves may not explicitly do or say anything racist.
Donald Trump has never been part of this group and has decades of evidence showing how he has not only benefited from the system of racism but espoused it in very explicit ways (despite having hired a black woman in the past). If you or any one else cannot reasonably see how many of Donald’s Trump’s public comments, tweets, actions, and ways of being are racist, xenophobic, sexist, misogynist, ableist and much more than your perspective is most likely just as problematic as his and nothing that any one can say will change that. Please come up with something else. 

Books to help you and all white people do better when talking about racism:

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by by Mahzarin R. Banaji  (Author), Anthony G. Greenwald (Author)

University of Rochester President & Alumni Support 540WMain at 3rd Annual Global Day of Service

We are excited to welcome UR President Sarah C. Mangelsdorf, Alumni, and Staff to 540WMain on Saturday September 14th for Global Day of Service

About UR Global Day of Service

Global Day of Service is an opportunity for University of Rochester alumni, parents, and friends to make a difference in their local communities through a variety of service opportunities led by Rochester volunteers that take place across the country and around the world. This marks the third annual global event!

 About The Work

This team of alumni volunteers will support work on our Nutrition and Teaching Courtyard. Work projects will include laying down mulch, weeding, and covering the ground with landscape rocks.  A large group will canvas the neighborhood with a clean sweep (trash pick up). This project has kept us very busy all summer long and we have been blessed to have the labor of first year students from UR (Wilson Day), Nazareth College, St. John Fisher, and other community volunteers help us get this project complete. Many hands truly make the work light!

Before we wrap up we have to give a huge thanks and shout out to Kayleigh Stampler, MPA, CFRE (08) who coordinated and planned this entire event alongside Megan Thompson, Senior Director, Regional Volunteers and Programs the University of Rochester.

About President Mangelsdorf

Sarah C. Mangelsdorf became president of the University of Rochester on July 1, 2019. An experienced academic leader, Mangelsdorf served as provost at the University of Wisconsin–Madison before coming to Rochester. She is a professor of psychology who is internationally known for her research on the social and emotional development of infants and young children. Lean more here

September Featured Artist Spotlight + Interview | Krit Upra

We are pleased to spotlight Krit Upra our September Featured Artist

The Gallery at 540WMain  will showcase Krit’s art exhibit Boys Do Cry 

Saturday September 14th | 11-2 PM

About Krit Upra

Krit Upra is a Thai visual artist with specialization in photography. Currently based in Rochester NY, Upra works closely with the local music community as a part of his work to document and showcase the local culture in Upstate NY through his publication Floated Magazine. 

Artist Statement

“As a visual artist, I regularly work on a large variety of projects, with the majority of my work exploring everything around myself. Through past trauma, I have recently had to re-learn how to live with myself and pave a path to happiness and self acceptance”

Where are you from?

KU: I am originally from Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Where did you grow up?

KU: I grew up in Thailand, and came out to the US during high school back in 2010.

What childhood experiences have shaped your art career? 

KU: Everything in my life has shaped my art career. Things that happened 10 years ago have shaped who I am today, but something that happened 5 minutes ago could affect my mood and result in a different interpretation of work. So I think everything that has happened to me as I live and breathe has shaped my art career.

When did you begin your career as an artist?

KU: I started dabbling with photography back in high school after I got injured during a soccer match. But it wasn’t really until 2015 when I met Richard Magolis and was given an opportunity to have my first solo show. That was when I really felt supported and understood as an artist.

Where do you get the inspiration for your work?

KU: I take inspiration from everything that happens in my life, and always look back in the past to better understand the present. I work in different types of mediums and projects which makes it a little hard to pin point a single inspiration.

What makes you want to work as an artist?

KU: I do it for myself, mainly. Specifically with this project, it has been a self healing process that allows me to better connect and understand myself. I use the work that I create as a platform to visually convey my message. Plus, art is an amazing form of communication since it can be interpreted in so many different ways, so being able to communicate in such a unique and personal way is why I want to work as an artist.

For you how does art relate to wellness?

KU: This specific body of work ties directly into mental wellness and the journey of self exploration to better understand my personal mindset.

How do you stay healthy as a creative?

KU: Making sure to take a step back and enjoy my free time helps me stay healthy as a creative.

What do you feel is the most challenging aspect of your career?

KU: Being an international student living and creating work in a place that I feel so connected to, but not being fully accepted or knowing what the future holds, is very challenging for me.

When you aren’t painting/drawing what are you doing?

KU: When I’m not working on my art, I’m using the medium that I create art with to create more professional work. There is always work to do.

What is it that inspires you to keep going as a professional artist?

KU: Passion and love for what I am doing keeps me going. My work as an artist has connected me with so many inspiring people. Seeing what this career has done for me so far makes me excited for what the future can holds and how many more amazing individuals I will get to work with.

What are you working on now?

KU: Currently, I am heavily working on my magazine project, “Floated”, and this on going project, “Boys do Cry”.

What has been your best experience so far as an artist?

KU: Again, just all of the people that I’ve come in contact through art.

What advice do you have for others interested in pursuing as career in art?

KU: I would tell aspiring artists: don’t get discouraged so easily, do what your heart pleases. Put yourself out there. If someone says no, that doesn’t change anything about your current standing, they just weren’t the right person.

Why should the community come out to see your collection?

KU: I believe in creating a community through art. You don’t have to come out to see my work, but at least come out to enjoy the community space, you never know who you might run into and how you might be inspired. 

Connect with Krit

When Talking About Racism It’s Time for Your Program to Do Better | An Open Letter to WXXI’s Connections by Calvin Eaton

A 540Monthly Membership ensures that we are able to create and curate low cost/high impact educational content and programming rooted in the arts, wellness, and antiracism.  If you love 540WMain consider becoming a 540Monthly Member today!

Listen to the Connections episode here

Dear WXXI Connections,

When talking about racism it’s time for your program, producers, and host to do better

I am a daily listener and sometimes guest on your show so when I read the synopsis for the first hour of your September 6th program (on Saturday morning September 7th) I already knew my eyes would roll back so far into my head that I just might need to go back to bed.

From the show  titled: How to better discuss race in America

John Calia says he’s tired of being blamed for all the ills of society, simply because he’s an older white man. He wrote a piece for the Democrat & Chronicle, arguing that the generalizations about white men are unfair and harmful. Calia is an executive coach and author, and he’s hoping his views will spark a conversation about better ways to discuss race in America. Frank Staropoli is also an older white man, and he’s the author of the blog “A White Guy in Rochester.” Staropoli has a very different view


My immediate thoughts were:
  • not another fragile ” old white guy”
  • not this white supremacist rhetoric again
  • why is whiteness centered on a discussion about race and racism?
  • why isn’t there a black person or POC (person of color) on the panel?
  • why isn’t Rachel DeGuzman on this panel?
  • please  please let this episode not trigger my post traumatic slave syndrome
  • I can already feel my blood pressure rising
  • can they come up with something else?

I started the episode and immediately hit pause because I wasn’t  sure if i could muster up the spirit of objectivity. I wasn’t sure if I could stomach another white privileged man who for decades has at the least; positively benefited from the structure of racism, tell me and countless other black Americans that he is offended by white privilege and doesn’t understand it (thereby implying that it doesn’t exist), how we need to work together, why we need to stop playing identity politics, that we need to find better ways to discuss racism in America, and so much more of the same rhetoric and talking points that white men like John Calia and so many others have told us (black Americans ) about race and racism since the Reconstruction Era.

I wasn’t sure if I could handle the cognitive dissonance, the blatant lies, the contradictions, the back peddling, the misrepresentation of history, the blind spots, the arrogance, the white fragility. I simply wasn’t sure if I had it in me. However, I pushed myself to listen anyway. I forced myself to turn up the volume and hope for the best. I challenged myself very publicly in another open letter to #speakoutnow and so by listening to the show (in its entirety) I knew that this would equip me fully to craft a response to the bullshit my spirit told me I was in for. Black people in America have always had the burden to prove the legacy and trauma of racism, no matter how obvious its effects permeate every single institution in the United States and this time it would be no different. When it was all said and done, John Calia said everything that I knew he would say.

It is almost as if white supremacist thinking “old white men” like himself have read and speak from the same How to Think Like A White Supremacist book so to be honest, I cant even be fully upset with him. His false equivalences, butchered history, contradictions, fragility,  and clear lack of expertise on the matter were eloquently called out by caller and elder Howard Eagle. The fact that I’ve already given John Calia five hundred and seventy five words is enough waste of my time as it is since “old white men” like him think what they think, say what they say and aren’t going to change. So I’m left to send my disappointment to no other place than to producer and host; Megan Mack and Evan Dawson respectively. You gave this man the platform and for this you deserve to be called out and implored to do better.

Do Better

I’ll make my request simple and share it first. When having discussions about race moving forward WXXI Connections, writers and producers have to do better.

When having discussions about race moving forward WXXI Connections have to do better.

It is perfectly acceptable to talk to old white men, white men, white women, white people about racism but you cannot do this with their whiteness solely at the center. White people created racism and have for centuries upheld it, maintained it, and executed it systemically, institutionally, and individually. They have denied its existence and gaslit black people and other groups that their perspective about racism is wrong. However they do not not get to tell Black people how to feel, how it impacts us,how we should act regarding it, or how we should talk about it. When talking about racism, the lens of those impacted by it should always be squarely at the center. John Calia on so many points was just wrong. In fact, he mentioned on air that when initially asked by your team to be on the panel, he told you if it was about race perhaps he was not the best person to be at the table. You had him any way. 

  • Where was the person or people of color and Black people on the panel?
  • Did you consult the black community of experts and elders when you decided to book these two old white men?
  • Did you get consultation and feedback from a black audience to make sure that you, a white woman and a white man respectively would give this very serious and real issue due diligence?
  • What is the racial and ethnic make up of WXXI’s board? And the production team?
  • Who are you consulting with when deciding to have programs about race?

It is clear from this episode that you do not have a diversity of voices at the decision making table when you are discussing race and racism at Connections and this needs to change. You used your privilege, “your whiteness” to make decisions about a system that doesn’t affect you in the way that Black people and others have been affected by it. You used your white privilege to think you knew best, just like white people always do.

To have an entire episode where John Calia is allowed a platform to be seen as an expert about race is not only problematic but dangerous. No matter how much you or he says that he is not an expert, when “old white men” have the microphone (like they always have) they are perceived by the public (especially the racist leaning public) to be an expert.

Stop having conversations about race without editors, producers, writers and guests of color are not at the table. Stop! As a media institution you have an obligation to do more than due diligence when there is a racist, sexist, xenophobic President in Office, when Mexican Americans, Muslim American, and brown Americans are being told to go back to their countries, are being detained by ICE, and when black and brown bodies are being gunned down by white officers in Rochester and around the nation. When you center white voices hold yourself accountable for this on the air. Be transparent and intentional about which white voices you do have on your program. Stop making it your mission to attempt to change the mind of people that think like John Calia. His racism is the worst kind of racism. The implicit and covert style of racism that pretends that it is not racist. You as a media institution have an obligation not to promote this voice and rhetoric but to be antiracist. When racism and black lives are being lost daily because of a system rigged segregation to keep black people in poverty we do not care about the promotion of all voices. 

This entire show made me so angry, so tired that I want to stop listening to this program altogether. But what comes of this this? As a black man in America it has become my burden to carry the burden of dismantling racism that I did not cause whether I want to or not and especially because programs like Connections make decisions such as this in 2019.

“As a black man in America it has become my burden to carry the burden of dismantling racism that I did not cause whether I want to or not”

I demand you as producers and as a radio educational program to do better in this area. You have a bigger audience, a bigger reach and you are an NPR station for godsakes. You are either antiracist as a media program or you are proliferating white supremacy, anti-blackness and racism; there is no in between. Do better. 

Books to help you and all white people do better when talking about racism:

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by by Mahzarin R. Banaji  (Author), Anthony G. Greenwald (Author)

Race Manners:Navigating the Minefield Between Black and White by Bruce Jacobs

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo

Resources to help you and all white people do better when talking about racism:

  1. Ten myths white people believe about racism | The Christian Century
  2. What Is White Privilege, Really? | Tolerance.org
  3. Speak Out Now: A Campaign Against Injustice | 540WMain
  4. What Is Whiteness? | New York Times

540WMain Announces September Featured Artist | Krit Upra

We are pleased to announce our September

Featured Artist, Krit Upra

About Krit Upra

Krit Upra is a Thai visual artist with specialization in photography. Currently based in Rochester NY, Upra works closely with the local music community as a part of his work to document and showcase the local culture in Upstate NY through his publication Floated Magazine. 

Artist Statement

As a visual artist, I regularly work on a large variety of projects, with the majority of my work exploring everything around myself. Through past trauma, I have recently had to re-learn how to live with myself and pave a path to happiness and self acceptance.

About “Boys Do Cry”

This body of work, “Boys Do Cry”, is a self exploration through the journey of self acceptance and the fight to overcome the darkness that surrounds oneself.

Don’t miss Krit’s Opening Reception
Date: Saturday September 14th | 11am-2pm

Location: 540WMain


—> Register here
—> $2 | admission (pay at the door)
—> Refreshments provided