The Spirit Room (Fargo, North Dakota)

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The Spirit Room is a non-profit organization, located in Fargo, North Dakota, United States, whose mission is to “enrich people’s lives through the development and practice of creative, contemplative, and healing arts.” The Spirit Room offers gallery exhibitions, yoga, dance and meditation classes, artist and healing arts studios, small concerts, literary events, book clubs and retreat days.[1]


The Spirit Room was formed in 1997 when Dawn Morgan and Marilynn Quam joined Paddy McLaughlin at “Namaste.” After Paddy left, the organization was renamed the Spirit Room and the main purpose became yoga and meditation classes. Since the building had bare walls, Dawn Morgan started booking art exhibits so that the classes could be conducted in a more aesthetically pleasing environment. [2]That step added an important and new dimension to the Spirit Room. About the same time, literary and humanities programs began to be offered periodically. In 1998, the Spirit Room relocated to the second floor of 111 Broadway in Fargo, North Dakota, United States, and was officially opened on March 22, 1999. Since the space had been abandoned for 30 years, it took a large effort from numerous individuals to get it up and running.[3]

In 2003, The Spirit Room began the process of officially becoming a non-profit organization. In July 2003 their by-laws were accepted by the State of North Dakota and by August 2004 they were officially a 501(c) (3) non-profit educational organization. They added a second, smaller gallery to their new space in 2005. The galleries have shown over 200 exhibits throughout their history. The Spirit Room continues to reinvent itself along the lines of its mission statement, “to enrich people's lives through the development and practice of creative, contemplative and healing arts.[4]


Today, the Spirit Room remains located in downtown Fargo at 111 Broadway. After Dawn Morgan acquired access to the building in 1998, many renovations were necessary in order for the Spirit Room to operate. New heating, electricity, plumbing, air conditioning, a sound system, and hardwood floors were installed. The project also included renovating a retail showroom into an art gallery, installing a kitchen, adding a second gallery, and creating office space. In 2009, an expansion into the next building at 109 Broadway allowed the Spirit Room to double its space with the addition of another large art gallery and more space for offices and classes. Beginning in 2012, the Spirit Room added 24 artist studios on the third floor, all located in the historic Hancock Building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Some of the current artists you will find at the Spirit Room include painters, sculptors, potters, print makers, musicians, and healing art professionals. The Spirit Room also houses The Center for Interfaith Projects. More recently, Morgan acquired space in the Avalon building at 613 1st Avenue north in downtown Fargo, also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The expansion to the Avalon includes the addition of three more art galleries and is expected to begin development of additional arts and cultural programming in early 2014.[5]


The Spirit Room offers many different types of activities that include art exhibits and receptions, yoga and dance classes, the Listening Room music series, the Dharma Book Club and meditation and healing arts retreats. The yoga classes vary in style and have included: Ananda yoga, Iyengar yoga, Sivananda Yoga, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, Kundalini yoga, Vinyasa, Anusara Yoga, Kripalu, Atma, Vajrasana, laughter, and prenatal yoga. The Listening Room is a small, intimate, live music venue for musicians of the Americana genre and is managed by Scott Curfman. The musicians receive 100% of the proceeds and an opportunity to sell CDs. They are also given dinner and a night’s stay at no charge. The Dharma Book Club is a weekly meeting for individuals to read and discuss chapters or whole books about Buddhist thought. Belly dancing is taught by Erika Franklin. Margreat Sam from Mumbai, India, teaches classical Indian dance. The healing arts services the Spirit Room offers are massage therapy, Reiki, Healing Touch, Rolfing, reflexology and the Bars. Meditation is also practiced to help clear minds, body, and emotions. [6]The Spirit Room also publishes books. The first, partially funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, was “God-Given: Cultural Treasures of Armenia,” based upon the work and the gallery exhibit of metal reposee artist Norik Astvatsaturov. That book received a national book award for design by Allen Sheets. Another is a reproduction of a book of poetry by the late local poet Stella Halsten Hohncke titled, “Occasionally Yours,” which contained poems that were written for special occasions in the 1930s. Another book published by Enso Press in 2009 was based upon a 2006 gallery exhibit at the Spirit Room titled, “This Grass,” containing visual images by painter Gin Templeton and poetry by Jamie Parsley. “In the Spirit of the Crow: A Gathering of Art and Poetry from the Great Winter Crow Shows 2004-2012” will be published in 2014.[7]


The Spirit Room holds a variety of events that include: The Great Winter Crow Show, the Wabi-Sabi Winter Show, the Snow and the Rose, a fundraising activity, and participates in the Cork & Canvas art walk and FM Visual Artists Studio Crawl. The Great Winter Crow Show is a non-competitive festivity where artists from visual, literary, dance, music, and handwork mediums showcase art related to the winter friends, the Raven and the Crow. The Wabi-Sabi Winter Show is a non-competitive festivity where artists show off visual, literary, and performance arts with the Japanese-based philosophy of celebration of imperfection. The Great Winter Crow Show and The Wabi-Sabi Winter Show are held in alternating years. The Cork & Canvas events are wine-tasting and art held in visual arts venues during the summer months. The Spirit Room participates in the Fargo Moorhead Visual Artists Studio Crawl held the first Saturday and Sunday in October. The Spirit Room also hosts an annual event showcasing the talents of an artist-in-residence at the NDSU Renaissance Hall print studio, which produces a broadside each year featuring a poem by the late poet, David Martinson.[8]


  2. Frank, Tracy. Woman of Influence: Dawn Morgan's work shapes art, spiritual communities. Fargo Inforum. 12 October 2013.
  3. Morgan, Dawn. Personal interview. 22 November 2013.
  4. Morgan, Dawn. Personal interview. 22 November 2013.
  5. Morgan, Dawn. Personal interview. 22 November 2013.
  6. Frank, Tracy. Clear minds, open hearts: Participants find mindfulness and understanding through meditation. Fargo Inforum. 17 August 2012.
  7. Morgan, Dawn. The Spirit Room. [1].
  8. Morgan, Dawn. The Spirit Room. [2].

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