There is no denying that over the past few years, Downtown Los Angeles has experienced major growth. Any drive along the 110 Freeway highlights the number of working cranes that are erecting more and more structures. One of the most vital scenes in the area has been focused in the Arts District located east of Little Tokyo and West of the L.A. River. Poketo, Apolis and Alchemy Works are amongst some of the most talked about (non-eatery) spots to have opened on 3rd St., drawing in people from all around the city. But perhaps the most interesting are those who can envision a future in areas that seem lost and forgotten. Stephen and Jodi Zeigler settled into an “off-the-beaten path” area of Downtown L.A. between Main Street and Skid Row around 2008, well before that section showed any signs of a shift.
Downtown L.A. is steeped in such rich history and Stephen & Jodi are proud to celebrate and share some of it with their patrons. On a recent Sunday afternoon we popped by their lovely These Days Gallery and Store and had the opportunity to speak with them both and learn a bit about the storied history of their particular building as well as how the store/gallery and yoga studio first took form.
“The building was originally built in 1887 and operated as a piano store and SRO Hotel. In 1906 the first jail sentence for pimping in the history of L.A. was given to the manager of the hotel for “Preying on the misfortune of fallen women and running a disorderly house”. In the 1930’s the headquarters for International Labor Defense and The Young Pioneers Society were housed on the first floor.
In the mid-30’s it became a Catholic Mission. In the 40’s it was bought by a nun name Sylvia Cresswell and run as “Sister Sylvia’s Soul Patrol” as a mission for alcoholic vets who found themselves on Skid Row after returning from the war in Europe. It was condemned in the 50’s the re-opened in the 60’s as a series of hiring halls. In 1974 it became United American Indian Involvement, the first federally funded urban Native American rehab/mission/service center.
UAII left in 2001 and the building was absorbed into The Toy District. We moved in in 2008 and operated as an art gallery/project space, yoga studio, and meditation hall under the name 118 Winston until October of 2014 when we rebranded as These Days.”
The building is also home to various street artists with its rotating murals on the side, which originally began as an effort to clean up the area directly outside. For years, the alley was a popular hangout for homeless Native Americans and became known at one time as Indian Alley. The murals have now become almost a destination spot of their own as they so colorfully celebrate the city’s cultural and artistic traditions.
On our visit, the gallery had a fabulous artist in residence project going on with Wild Life, a street artist who has never felt at home just showing in a gallery. Being in residence has allowed him to create some pieces that will later be distributed throughout different spots in the city.
Prior to Wild Life’s residency, an artist named Jim Olarte had some massive fiberglass artwork hanging in the gallery. Sad to have missed it but happy to see that some of his smaller pieces are still for sale in the store. Speaking of which, the store itself features many artisans that specialize in their craft as the Zeigler’s are constantly seeking out people devoted to their specific medium. In addition, These Days offers an inspired selection of art books, zines and mags. You can tell instantly how much care and detail goes into curating this special space. (Yoga and meditation classes are also held on Mondays and Tuesdays.)
Be sure to check out what they have going on during the L.A. Downtown Artwalk slated for August 13th!
These Days is located at:
118 Winston St. (2nd Floor)
L.A., CA 90013
Photos by: Devin Sarno