The Prairie Den

The Prairie Den

A Hidden Space for Creativity to Fly Free

BY EMMA JEAN VATNSDAL

Behind an unassuming door and up a flight of stairs sits a space that many would not expect to find among the hustle and bustle of downtown Fargo.

The Prairie Den is run by Emerging Prairie, an entrepreneurial group that aims to connect and celebrate the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Fargo-Moorhead Area. (Logo courtesy of Emerging Prairie)

The Prairie Den, a co-working space at 122 ½ Broadway, is set in an old bank and houses artists, freelancers, small businesses, and even start ups within its four walls.  Since it opened in July 2015, the Prairie Den has been a place where businesses and community members can come together for work or play.

Annie Wood, the director of community programs with Emerging Prairie, says that this space has been her project since she started working with Emerging Prairie in 2015.

Annie Wood, the director of community programs with Emerging Prairie. (Photo by Emma Jean Vatnsdal)

“I think my favorite thing about this place is that every day is different,” Wood says.  “We have businesses that pay money to use this space as their main office space and some people that just come here to take a break from their normal offices to have a different space to think that is a little more creative than their norm.”

Creative spaces are in no short supply at the Prairie Den.  With two conference rooms each decorated in a distinct style and art around every corner, finding a creative space to expand the mind is never a difficult task.

Conference rooms, like this Graffiti Room, are decorated in their own distinct way to help spark creativity in an environment that is drastically different than the stereotypically grey and drab that many offices are accustomed to. (Photo by Emma Jean Vatnsdal)

Katie Worral, the communications director for Emerging Prairie, had no issue finding a space to get her creative juices flowing.

Katie Worral, the communications coordinator with Emerging Prairie. (Photo by Emma Jean Vatnsdal)

“I think this is my favorite spot to sit,” says Worral. “I can star out the window, I can look at the photo strings, it is just the best.”

Strings of photos taken from the #ILoveFargo Instagram campaign line a nook of the Prairie Den. (Photo by Emma Jean Vatnsdal)

 

Local artists created each piece specifically for the Prairie Den.

“We intentionally designed this space to feature local artists and crafters,” says Wood, “it can’t be replicated because everything was made for us. It may not seem like it, but each piece has a place here. It was made for Fargo, by Fargo.”

Art created by artists from around the Fargo-Moorhead area can be found throughout the Prairie Den. (Photo by Emma Jean Vatnsdal)
After the roof was replaced on the building, the skylight was painted to create something more than a reminder of what was once there. (Photo by Emma Jean Vatnsdal)

The art isn’t the only thing that makes the Prairie Den special.

Unlike co-working spaces in larger cities that view themselves as a real estate property that sells itself to the community, the Prairie Den views themselves as a gift to the community.

“This space isn’t just for businesses,” says Wood. “We rent the space out to community members for a lot of really weird things. I know a while back we had someone rent this out for a birthday party, we’ve had fantasy football drafts, a gaming tournament and even cat yoga.”

(For those wondering, cat yoga is not a “Mommy and Me”-like yoga class where cats are held up like the opening scene of The Lion King, it is literally just yoga with cats walking around. And it sounds like a purr-fect way to do it.)

(Emma Jean Vatnsdal is a junior majoring in multimedia journalism at MSUM. She is from Roseau, Minnesota, and is a producer for MSUM’s Campus News program. Contact her at vatnsdalem@mnstate.edu.)

 

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