Los Angeles and West Adams specifically will soon be welcoming a new institution made for us, by us! The Gathering Spot, an intentional private membership club focused on the people and the community will be coming this fall to unite and stimulate the Black community.
Founded by Ryan Wilson and TK Peterson, The Gathering Spot (TGS) was born in D.C. during a time of unrest and longing amongst the founders. While in their apartment they shared during college, the two conceptualized the idea of creating a space for Black and Brown people to gather in a space that celebrated their existence. We spoke to co-founder Ryan Wilson to discuss TGS, an idea turned reality, that forever changed his life.
“Growing up was to always be an attorney. I wanted to be a lawyer because to me that was the best way to have an impact in our community,” he shared. The Georgetown alum shared that he followed that path, however, it took until law school for the moment of change. “I was working at a law firm in Buckhead in Atlanta and I got an email from some friends after George Zimmerman was acquitted of Trayvon Martin’s murder, and the email simply said, ‘What are we going to do?’”
“I responded back to the email with two different parts. The first part, ‘I think we’ve got to use this moment to figure out how we can really work to empower ourselves.’ Then the second, ‘I think we need to build a physical place and create a community where we can tackle this issue and anything else that we want to do,’” he detailed. “From the minute that I wrote that paragraph, I felt like the place that was in my head really needed to exist.”
From there, Wilson reached out to his now business partner Peterson and the format began to build. For two years, the two spoke daily, coming up with plans and goals for TGS until it officially opened its first location in Atlanta. “What’s happened since then is really a celebration of a tremendous number of people.” What started as a small idea is now the largest city club in Atlanta with a growing presence amongst its new Washington D.C. location and an experience in bloom in Los Angeles.
The grassroots efforts that have taken place in LA since the top of the year prove time-and-time again how much emphasis Wilson and the entire team put on its community. Without a finished location, members can experience what’s to come, understanding the value of being a part of a community designed for you to connect, build and grow. Wilson continued to tell TGS’s goal is to honor the most ignored demographics in private clubs: Black people as a whole and specifically Black women in a space that not only tolerates but celebrates our contributions. Unlike other private clubs, TGS offers uniqueness in that the culture is the focal point, yet members and the community effortlessly drive that force as creators of said culture.
Wilson speaks to choosing West Adams as the location. The building which sits near the corner of Redondo and Adams will feature two restaurants including a bar and lounge, a co-working space, and will be fully equipped for large and small events. Not only was the location about access, but a place that held TGS’s core values close.
“This business at its best is connected to the [community]. We’re not creating a private club with a goal of putting up tall gates and not connecting with the community. We have to be in places where we’re able to still connect to real people and real community issues. I think West Adams provides that opportunity through and through,” he explained.
As mentioned, TGS will be a private club that includes fees per month or yearly, however, they’ve been very intentional in their prices and that it fits the surroundings and is affordable for all interested. Wilson stated, “We’re building a community at TGS but that community has to also reflect the broader community that the club is in.” While private, the internal aspect is that of inclusion. Without a tier system amongst members, TGS is a place for everyone to find common ground and a place that supports them.
Wilson, who spent years of his childhood in Los Angeles will soon be returning full-time to oversee and lend a hand in the final steps of the new location. “One thing that I really want everybody to know about this just in general, we see ourselves as integrating into what is already special in LA,” he said of the arrival of the space. Mentioning the already amazing creatives, business owners, and executives in the city, he continued, “What we hope to do is to celebrate those folks, and to connect them to maybe other people that they haven’t met, and to do it in a way that feels like LA. We want to build on what was already happening in the city.”
“That’s one thing I could promise to LA, I’m not about to do anything in LA that’s not intentional.”
To find more information on The Gathering Spot Los Angeles or learn how to become a member, visit https://thegatheringspot.club/la-gathers/.