Make Room

Make Room for Downtown’s Newest Gallery, Workspace

Make Room
Make Room’s historic underground space is being revitalized into workshop, event and visual art space.

As the Fargo-Moorhead visual art scene continues to feverishly expand, it has been made clear that it can still make room for new spaces and contributors, literally.

Make Room will serve as a platform for both emerging and established artists, as well as a community space for events and workshops.

Chelsea Thorson, the gallery’s founder and director and North Dakota State graduate in architecture, finally has a space to house her varying artistic endeavors and passion for teaching.

In opening the space, Thorson credited her boss at Atomic Coffee for prompting the search process for downtown locations. The 130-year-old former basement of the Dakota Business College on Main Avenue fit the bill.

“I feel that if I put everything I have into this space, it will all come back to me,” Thorson said. She stressed the importance of the Fargo community’s support.


Although Make Room serves normal gallery functions, the focus appears to be predominantly classroom-oriented. With nearly 15 workshops and events scheduled in the month of October, Thorson hopes to cater to a variety of demographics through functional gatherings.

Thorson noticed the desire within others to teach, but who were unfamiliar with the process of hosting events. After hosting 100 classes in 2015 alone, Thorson knew she could bridge the gap, providing the adequate space existed.

In artist selection, Thorson wants to avoid pigeonholing her choices to any certain demographic or media style. Make Room’s first two shows have featured emerging talent, but Thorson mentioned the possibility of established retired artists or students looking to do work that falls outside traditional showing norms.

Shows thus far have ran monthly, which conveniently aligns with Thorson’s goal of artists hosting

make room

classes during their designated exhibition month.

“The hard part for me is finding the right artist who really wants to teach,” Thorson said, “I think people do, but I don’t want to be nagging them about it.”

Make Room’s first show, “Critter Drawings,” featured large-scale charcoal drawings from Emily Swedberg. October’s show, which opens Friday, highlights the printmaking work of Madeline Murnion. The opening reception is free and open to the public, and goes from 7-9 p.m.

Make Room’s branding holds sentimentality in the personal nature of the typography, and the relative struggle Thorson experienced while making the final name selection.

The font is taken from a sketchbook Thorson completed at age four. She traced the novice handwriting onto velum with her favorite name choice, Make Room. It reads as comforting and simple, which accurately describes the space to which it belongs.

In terms of short-term goals, Thorson hopes to have a consistent flow of teachers and guests through her space. Artist selection holds a certain amount of short-term weight as well.

“I’d also like to find some really great artists that haven’t been shown yet.” Thorson said, “To find some secret, hidden artist in Fargo who are going to knock people’s socks off.”

To keep up with Make Room’s class schedules and openings, visit the gallery’s website or Facebook page.

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