Just Above Midtown: Changing Spaces

Announcement for the opening of Just Above Midtown, 1974. Collection Linda Goode Bryant, New York

Introduction to Just Above Midtown: Changing Spaces 359

Announcement for the opening of Just Above Midtown, 1974. Collection Linda Goode Bryant, New York

Linda Goode Bryant: I’m Linda Goode Bryant, and I’m the Founder and Director of Just Above Midtown, JAM, Gallery.

It was started in response to the dominant art infrastructure not supporting or showing the work of African American and other artists of color. JAM was always about artists being as creative as they could possibly be driven by their visions and imagination and supported for that.

People certainly thought of me as the leader, but it was the most massive, amazing, diverse collaboration in terms of the types of people, personalities, processes and the way they thought, just massive.

JAM’s locations really came about because we were being evicted from one place to another, to be honest. We go into places that we see opportunity and then as we develop in those places, they become more desirable places for other folks who have more financial resources than we do, and that inevitably pushes us out.

But in the beginning, 57th Street was a political statement. When we had to move off 57th Street, we needed more space for artists to do performances, to be able to show films and media, video. Space was cheaper in Tribeca, so we landed on Franklin Street. We were evicted from Franklin Street. That took us to Broadway and that took us to 25,000 luxurious square feet of raw space. We finally declared ourselves a laboratory and that was liberating.

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