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

On Diversifying My Reading List | Guest Blog by Emily Hessney Lynch

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!

On Diversifying My Reading List by Emily Hessney Lynch

In 2019, I made a concerted effort to diversify my reading. I’m a voracious reader already, typically reading 50-60 books per year, and in 2019 I had set a goal of reading 100 books. It seemed like a great opportunity to also focus on reading more books written by people of color and LGBTQ+ authors. 

As an English and History double major in college, I’m often drawn to going back and reading the “classics” I missed. We insist “classics are classics for a reason,” but there’s so many excellent books being published today by authors from diverse backgrounds, and when you read only classics, you miss out on other perspectives. I did a quick review of my Goodreads challenge from 2018 compared to 2019. In 2018, I read 64 books. By a rough estimate, about 22 books were by people of color or LGBTQ+ authors. When I look at my 2019 stats (I just finished my 100th book this week!), 52 of the books I read were by POC or LGBTQ+ authors! 

If you’re interested in diversifying your reading list too, here are a few tips to get started:
  • Keep an eye out on social media for book recommendations from people whose opinions you respect. Follow people of color and LGBTQ+ folks, especially writers, and see whose work they recommend.
  • If you enjoy a particular genre, instead of reaching for a new romance novel by a white author, do a little bit of research and find something by an author of color instead! Jasmine Guillory and Helen Hoang are two great romance writers, and there are many others. Hoang is also a neurodiverse author who writes neurodiverse characters—she has Autism Spectrum Disorder herself and writes love stories for characters like her.
  • Read outside your preferred genres. I picked up more Young Adult (YA) than ever this year and I loved it! It’s heartening to see so many diverse stories being told by incredible authors, like Abid Khorram, Mason Deaver, Angie Thomas, and Elizabeth Acevedo.
  • Try picking a reading theme for the month. This year, I read five books by Black authors for Black History Month, six books by women authors for Women’s History Month, and eight books by LGBTQ+ authors for Pride Month. It was a lot of fun!
  • Join a book club. Though I was skeptical of book clubs for awhile, I joined Books + Yoga Roc this year, where we read works by authors of color, discuss, and then do yoga and meditate. It steered me towards books I may not have otherwise picked up, and we had some enlightening conversations too. There are lots of great politically-minded book clubs out there, no matter where you live, so seek one out or start your own!

If you’re in search of your next great book to read, here are 10 of my favorites from this year by people of color or LGBTQ+ authors:

  1. How Long Til Black Future Month by N.K. Jemisin
  2. Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to a Tribe Called Quest by Hanif Abdurraqib
  3. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
  4. Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
  5. Heavy by Kiese Laymon
  6. Good Talk by Mira Jacob
  7. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
  8. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
  9. The Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
  10. Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

Happy reading! Feel free to tweet me if you ever need a book recommendation— @servemethesky.

About Emily Hessney Lynch

Emily Hessney Lynch is the owner and founder of Serve Me the Sky Digital, a social media consulting business that’s helped numerous nonprofits, startups, and small businesses take their social media to the next level. In her spare time, Emily is the Director of I Heart ROC, a local website that tells the stories of fascinating Rochesterians. She is also on the Board of Cameron Community Ministries. Emily holds a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree from the University of Rochester. She’s a voracious reader and the proud parent of two rescue dogs.

Photo credit: John Schlia Photography

An Introduction: Heading West Guest Blog by Madelaine Britt

For just a minute, you might think you are standing on the shores of Lake Ontario. I’m shifting through the burnt-colored wild grasses of the Lake Michigan shoreline, the water folding and rising on the edge of Chicago. It looks familiar – like those hot days I would burn my feet running after my cousin on Charlotte Beach. Changing out of our wet suits in the same bathhouse my mother cleaned 45 years ago as a scrawny teenager living off of Dewey and Lexington Avenue.

I write this from Chicago, my first month of an 11-month journey as an Emerson National Hunger Fellow. The fellowship, through the Congressional Hunger Center, is a training and development program that supports individuals committed to growing as social justice leaders from diverse communities across the country. The first five months, fellows are placed at non-profit and community based organizations working on addressing hunger at the local level. The final six is spent in Washington D.C. learning how to advocate for policy-level changes to address the systemic causes of hunger and poverty.

My mom grew up in a single mother household, moving throughout the city in apartments, splitting time across the Lyell-Otis, Edgerton neighborhoods as well as across the river in the Clinton/Avenue D community. Much of my growing up was informed by her experience living in a food-insecure residence, as a recipient of public benefit programs and at the hands of absentee-landlords. It was her experience that first exposed me to urban planning, but it was fully defined for me as a student at the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning. Sitting on the steps of the house where she came of age, and where my grandmother still lives, systems of power began to become more palpable for me. In the bus routes that took her often times an hour to get to Wegmans. And in, over time, learning how her white skin created opportunities for her in employment, SUNY scholarships and eventually homeownership with my dad. Opportunities countless other families still wait for and that some will never see.

Writing from my air mattress, I wonder what cost I am to my new neighborhood: a transient resident whose credit score and cosigner were favorable to the landlord. A credit score built from multi-generational home-ownership uniquely afforded to people who look like me. My father’s family was welcomed as white homeowners in West Irondequoit. That first loan, signed by my grandfather, built wealth across two generations. It supported my father in a well-funded, primarily white suburban school district. Over 50 years after his signature, and five years after his death, my grandfather’s loan benefits me today.  I question what my role is, if any, within advocacy when I live in a legacy of poverty but have not experienced it first hand.

As a young white person who is trained in urban planning, I am in the beginning stages of a long learning journey to better understand the role community design plays in addressing systemic racism, classism and ableism. Planning is rooted in white supremacy and exploitative land use practice and continues to be used as an oppressive tool. On this blog I hope to share what I learn throughout the tenure of my fellowship, in my time living in Chicago and DC – both cities whose racist planning practices are lived out today. I also hope to share what I come across that might help answer some of my questions – how do we build equitable, inclusive cities – and who is the “we” in that sentence? Who decides what makes a community “thrive?” Who is defining “affordable?” And in a city where 50 percent of children, disproportionately from communities of color, are below the poverty level, how many more times must Rochester community groups organize for inclusionary housing policies?

A zoning code – a simple color, a number –  actively perpetuates racial and economic exclusion within Rochester and across the country. In my fellowship, I’m eager to learn from community-based leaders, technicians, educators and organizers who are working towards recreating planning to be a social good. I look forward to sharing my experience in partnership with 540WMain, Inc. 

About Madelaine Britt 

Madelaine Britt is a city planner passionate about community-lead design and planning practice in the Rust Belt. Having grown up in Rochester, Syracuse and studied at the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, she is interested in learning more about planning strategies that center equity, deep affordability and the “right to stay” in rapidly gentrifying urban centers. She is currently an Emerson National Hunger Fellow placed in Chicago working on food security issues. Before the fellowship, she worked as a Manhattan borough planner for the City of New York, primarily focused on anti-displacement efforts for small businesses in East Harlem and Washington Heights. 

Diverse Professionals in Tech Networking Mixer | Panelist Spotlight | October 18

We are pleased to spotlight our three panelists for Friday’s Diverse Professionals In Tech Networking Mixer

Friday October 18  | 5:30 – 7:30 PM
Douglass Auditorum at 36 King St
Register here

About The Event

The mission of Diverse Professionals in Tech is to bring together diverse professionals with disabilities and other marginalized identities committed to seeing diversity among Rochester’s tech and design industry.
About Yennifer Hernandez | Panelist

Yennifer Hernandez is a graduate of the University of Rochester with a bachelor’s in Electrical and Computer Engineering (’12) and a master’s in Technical Entrepreneurship and Management (‘16). Professionally she is the Lead Business Analyst for University IT at the @urochester. For the past 3 years, Yennifer has been working with various members of the university community to document their business needs and identify the appropriate IT solutions to satisfy those needs.

 Why is diversity and equity in the tech industry important?

YH: Diversity in tech inspires great creativity. The more diverse perspectives we bring to the table, the more effective we can be in creating solutions that reach broader audiences. I also feel that there is increased productivity and morale in places where people feel accepted and understood which can then lend to an environment where we feel comfortable pursuing innovative ideas.   

What are the actions you are taking to improve diversity and equity in your field and beyond?

YH: I seek out opportunities that allow me to network with diverse groups of students who are interested in STEM fields. I have taught STEM courses to middle school students in an inner-city school to try to increase student engagement in science, math, and technology. I am currently one of 2 representatives for our university-wide staff council, on behalf of the IT department, where I can ensure concerns of diverse voices across my department are heard and understood. I participate and assist in the facilitation of our IT High school internship program where work with schools from the Rochester area to offer internships to HS student interested in Tech. I facilitate our college internship program on behalf of our department. Every year we host a diverse group of college students for summer opportunities. I advocate for my colleagues in the workplace when I feel there is unfair judgment.

About Meisuleen Kased | Panelist

Why is diversity and equity in the tech industry important?

MK: Diversity and equity in tech is important because it helps companies get the best talent and allows for diverse input in the products they build to cater to all types of customers. Problems get resolved more quickly and you get better ideas with a broader perspective. Employee retention is another important reason since it allows people from diverse backgrounds to experience a great work culture. All in all, a more diverse work culture will lead to a better product.
What are actions you are taking to improve diversity and equity in your field and beyond? 
MK: I’ve been involved with Career Karma as a mentor to software engineering students who come form underrepresented backgrounds and I’ve attended developer meetups and conferences to become more educated on the issues of diversity in tech. 
About Emily Yang | Panelist

Emily is a User Experience Researcher at Paychex. She started out as a Front-End/UI developer before heading into research. She has a bachelors degree in Information Technology from RIT and a masters degree in Human-Technology Interaction from Eindhoven University of Technology. Previously, she worked at Kodak, ZoomSystems and Samsung. She had also worked with startups in NYC and Berlin.
Why is diversity and equity in the tech industry important? 
EY: Diversity and equity is important because everyone matters. Technology should not be built for the few, but it often is when the people behind are not diverse and not paying attention. 
What are actions you are taking to improve diversity and equity in your field and beyond?
EY: I wish I could be doing more but for now I help by pressing on issues that vulnerable populations tend to have. At my job, I study our clients (our main users) and their employees, to make sure that what we build will work for everyone. In addition, every others Saturday, I volunteer at the Lincoln library a digital literacy volunteer. I help people navigate through bureaucratic job application systems and all sorts of issues related to digital literacy.

Film Screening of the “Whose Streets? Our Streets! | October 19th

We are excited to have you attend the Whose Streets? Our Streets! Film Screening + Discussion on Saturday October 19th

The Whose Streets? Our Streets! short documentary film features interviews with the photographers that are featured in the exhibit and will be followed by a facilitated discussion by Calvin Eaton featuring Tamar Carroll and Josh Meltzer of the ways in which activists and photographers can collaborate to further movements for social justice.

About Whose Streets? Our Streets!

The “Whose Streets? Our Streets!”: New York City, 1980-2000 project brings together the work of 38 independent photographers who chronicled movements for social change. Collectively, this work documents a range of social justice issues including housing and gentrification; race relations and police brutality; HIV/AIDS and queer activism; feminism and reproductive rights; labor and education; and war and the environment.

When: Saturday October 19, 2019
Where: Douglass Auditorium at 36 King Street
Time: 2-4:30 PM | Doors open at 1:30 PM
Cost: $2 suggested donation

About the Curators

Tamar Carroll | Co- Curator & Historian

Learn more –> http://www.whosestreets.photo/

Tamar is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of History at Rochester Institute of Technology. Her book, Mobilizing New York: AIDS, Antipoverty, and Feminist Activism, examines the history and legacy of three path-breaking social movements in New York City from the 1950s through the 1990s. She conducted more than fifty oral history interviews while researching this book; she also drew on organizational and personal archives, newspapers, films, posters, and photographs to bring these stories of activism to life.

Josh Metzler | Video Interview + Web Development

Josh Meltzer joined the faculty in the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology where he teaches photojournalism, video storytelling and interactive storytelling as an Assistant Professor. Previously, Josh taught similar courses at Western Kentucky University. A native of Athens, Georgia, Josh is a 1995 graduate of Carleton College in Minnesota and received his Masters in Multimedia Communications from the University of Miami in 2013.

About Current Seen

Big Ideas. Small Venues.

Current Seen supports the region’s growing contemporary art community by bringing new curatorial voices and new artists together near East Ave. and Main St., connecting audiences along these historic streets. Core Venues (Rochester Contemporary Art CenterRochester Public LibraryVisual Studies Workshop, and RIT City Space, and Framework Venues (galleries, community and alternative spaces, and pop-up venues) will host curated exhibitions of local and national artists related to the general theme: our current moment / our changing city. 

Learn more –> www.currentseen.org

Take the 2020 Gentrification Conference Community Survey

Dear Community,

Planning is well underway for the 2020 540WMain Gentrification Conference! We are super excited to begin this process and need your support. Please take our very short (three question) survey and share it with your networks. We want to get feedback from as many folks as possible.

Click the button below to take the survey

Take survey here

One more thing:

And as a gift for your time check out our Official Commercial which includes lots of footage from the 2019 Conference held back on March 30, 2019

540WMain Official Commercial (2019) from 540WMain Communiversity on Vimeo.

video credit: Christian Rivera dopeamine.teachable.com