Just Above Midtown: Changing Spaces

Clockwise from top left: Andy Owens, Linda Goode Bryant, David Hammons, Lowery Stokes Sims, Cheryl Mason Dorman, Faythe Weaver, Florence Harding, and Roberta Wolfe Bryant, with Elizabeth Catlett’s *Homage to My Young Black Sisters* (1968) before the opening of the exhibition Synthesis, Just Above Midtown, Fifty-Seventh Street, 1974. Courtesy Faythe Weaver, New York

JAM in One Sentence 362

Clockwise from top left: Andy Owens, Linda Goode Bryant, David Hammons, Lowery Stokes Sims, Cheryl Mason Dorman, Faythe Weaver, Florence Harding, and Roberta Wolfe Bryant, with Elizabeth Catlett’s Homage to My Young Black Sisters (1968) before the opening of the exhibition Synthesis, Just Above Midtown, Fifty-Seventh Street, 1974. Courtesy Faythe Weaver, New York

Artist, Maren Hassinger: JAM was a laboratory ...

JAM assistant director and children's book author/illustrator, Pat Cummings: A hub ...

Artist, Dawoud Bey: A community ...

JAM volunteer, art historian, and curator, Lowery Stokes Sims: Relationships ...

JAM curator and artist, Kathleen Goncharov: An experimental, alternative space ...

JAM volunteer and art historian, Faythe Weaver: A heady melting pot of what could be possible in the arts ...

Artist, Kaylynn Sullivan TwoTrees: JAM was pivotal to my life as an artist.

Artist, Randy Williams: Before it was JAM, it was an idea in Linda’s wonderful brain.

Lowery Stokes Sims: She came up with the idea of Just Above Midtown. "I wanna open a gallery," and we went, okay.

Linda Goode Bryant: And everybody thought, well, you can’t do it. You have to have money. And I’ve always believed that there’s something that is both a passion and a mission, which I think art is, you just do it.

JAM volunteer, AC Hudgins: I know what drew me to JAM and that was Linda’s personality. She was a dreamer.

Lowery Stokes Sims: She was an unstoppable force. So, the best thing we could do was just help her to keep going.

Faythe Weaver: It was very difficult to be Black in the seventies and be in the art world. people were so dead set against a major Black arts movement defined by Black people themselves.

JAM curator and artist, Tony Whitfield: JAM actually was like a home base in a hostile world for generations of Black artists.

Randy Williams: I never had worked with other artists of color. And JAM really opened up all those possibilities for me as an artist.

Pat Cummings: If you were doing something creative, off-center, and Black, you would gravitate towards JAM.

Linda Goode Bryant: Artists talked about how they couldn’t get shown. "They won’t let us" was a phrase that was used a lot. “They won’t let us? Fuck them!” you know, is really how I said it. You find a way.

So that’s how JAM got started. On 50 West 57th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, us Black folks have got a gallery.

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