Just Above Midtown: Changing Spaces

Photograph of Linda Goode Bryant’s son, R. Kenneth Bryant, age five, at Just Above Midtown, Fifty-Seventh Street

Photograph of Linda Goode Bryant’s son, R. Kenneth Bryant, age five, at Just Above Midtown, Fifty-Seventh Street. 1974 363

Gelatin silver print, 16 × 20" (40.6 × 50.8 cm). Collection Linda Goode Bryant, New York

Linda Goode Bryant: Nothing could have happened at JAM without the family of JAM. And it was a family of artists, musicians and dancers, writers, also chefs.

I will never forget the night that really just flipped me out. We pooled all our money together and there was enough money to buy two pork chops and a cabbage and an onion. And one of the people at the house that night made a meal for at least seven, eight or nine people, including my two kids. Shit like that happened.

Artist, Janet Olivia Henry: Everybody volunteered at JAM. And a part of volunteering at JAM was babysitting.

JAM volunteer and art historian, Faythe Weaver: Nobody minded pitching in with Linda’s kids Kenneth and Brienin, because it’s hard work. JAM was almost a 24-hour-a-day enterprise.

Linda Goode Bryant: I was a single mom and had friendships with other single moms and we shared taking care of our kids. So when it was my day to take care of the kids, they were in the gallery.

JAM assistant director and children's book author/illustrator, Pat Cummings: Kenny was like seven years old and selling artwork. And I remember somebody was interested in buying one of his pieces and he wanted $50, and whoever it was was like, that’s a lot of money. And he says, you can do installments. He’s seven years old! I was like, he learns very quickly.

Linda Goode Bryant: A number of those mothers were part of this group that decided We got these kids, let’s start Sunshine Circle, let’s start this school for kids. It was in Harlem. And it was another really creative space.

0:00
3 / 19