The Cut

Linda Goode Bryant’s revolution on 57th street

All Linda Goode Bryant needed was 724 square feet to create the change she wanted to see in New York’s art scene. That and a great deal of audacity. After borrowing $1,000, the 25-year-old single mother was already working full time as director of education at the Studio Museum when she secured the rental unit where that change would be realized. It was 1974 when Just Above Midtown Gallery (later known simply as JAM) opened its doors at 50 West 57th Street, right in the heart of the city’s commercial-art district. At the time, New York City was on the verge of bankruptcy. Driven by a collective sense of frustration with an overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly male, and largely conservative Establishment, Goode Bryant used what she had to create what the city needed: a space of nurturing for the artists who would go on to become some of the most influential figures in the Black avant-garde.

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