Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month: Q&A with Artist Jazmin Harms

There’s no such thing as a “disability” when it comes to creativity or work ethic. A sense of purpose runs through all of us, and that force is strong with Jazmin Harms. Jazmin is a resident artist at the SlingShot Art Studio and Gallery in our hometown of Santa Barbara.

We’re big fans of SlingShot since it’s not your typical gallery: The art on the walls is created by 40 in-house artists with intellectual disabilities. A branch of the mission-driven Alpha Resource Center, SlingShot provides a sunny, open studio space to encourage creative expression and a modern gallery for artists to sell their art in the heart of downtown.

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Jazmin Harms is this month’s featured artist at SlingShot’s latest gallery show, ROAR. Her use of graphite on paper brings life to the animals she loves. SlingShot Teaching Artist Mike Blaha sat down with Jazmin to ask her about some of her favorite things.


Where is your favorite place in nature?

Jelly Bowl in Carpenteria. I walk to the Beach. It takes about 20+ minutes but I like the journey to the beach. I bring my phone to take pictures. My favorite subject is the sunset. I look for the “golden hour” when the sun just disappears and there are dolphins. 

What kind of art do you create?

I draw only animals all the time. I pick pictures that I can depict honestly and are true to their forms. Big predatory animals are the most interesting and big cats are my favorite. 

What medium do you use?

I use graphite because I like the way the shades of graphite renders the animals. 

What time of year is your favorite? 

I like summer evenings the best because I can stay at the beach for longer. I time my arrival to catch the “golden hour.”


Taking photographs of the sunset seems challenging, how do you do it? 

I like using foreground objects like rocks, driftwood and surf to accentuate the sunsets. I love seeing whales and dolphins. My favorite colors are the oranges and yellows. 

What else do you like about the beach? 

I like to go alone to feel a strong sense of nature. I hike up and down the beach to collect sea glass. Finding blue is my favorite. I have quite a large collection of sea glass. I get a calming effect that lasts the rest of the evening. I go as often as I can.


To see Jazmin’s amazing work, check out the ROAR show at the SlingShot Studio. We held a pop-up fundraiser for March First Thursday (which is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, btw), and we can say firsthand that all the art is stellar!

For more on our mission to create and support opportunities for people with disabilities, check out this letter from our CEO. A portion of every Toad&Co purchase directly contributes to our mission.

Ambassador Profile: Adreon and the Canoemobile


There’s nothing like your first time hitting the water, and we think everyone should have that experience. So as part of our longtime social mission to provide opportunities for adults with disabilities, we gave a grant to the National Park Foundation to get 1,000 adults with disabilities into national parks this year. In celebration of the National Park Service centennial, the Canoemobile, operated by the skillful team from Wilderness Inquiry, will connect folks to the national parks by getting them into canoes and out onto America’s great rivers and lakes. Adreon Morgan, one of the Canoemobile’s trusty captains, will be taking over the Toad blog to relay tales from the trail…err, waterway! Take it away Adreon…


Introducing people to the joy of the great outdoors is my work and my passion. I believe people of all backgrounds and abilities should have access to the natural world. With Wilderness Inquiry’s Canoemobile, I have been able to introduce people with disabilities and underserved students to their local waterways in over 20 cities coast-to-coast.

Canoemobile visits some of the busiest cities and industrial waterways in the United States. Most of the people riding in these canoes have never explored the great National Parks and state parks within their communities. Paddling in a 24-foot Voyageur canoe helps many overcome fears of water, experience the importance of teamwork, and reclaim these beautiful urban waterways.

This spring tour will be my fourth Canoemobile tour. Each boat ride has been special. We load up into canoes, learn to paddle together, create epic boat names to unite us as a team, and then explore local ecosystems from a new perspective.

My favorite part is watching the participants step out of their comfort zones and become empowered. I love watching nerves disappear with each paddle stroke. Soon after we launch from the dock, crying transforms into laughter and team chanting. It’s a beautiful transformation to watch. I am honored to be apart of this life-changing experience for so many people. Time to hit the road!

– Adreon

For information on when the Canoemobile will be in your area and how to get involved, check the Canoemobile schedule!


The Power of Your Purchase


Every purchase of Toad&Co is powerful. Every item of clothing sold contributes to creating opportunity for adults with disabilities through our partners at Search, Inc. When you shop, we give. And this Tuesday you can double your impact.

B_PAC_520x520-1Save Your Pennies on Black Friday, Donate Them on Giving Tuesday, December 1st


For 24 hours only, the Coleman Foundation is matching your donations to Search, dollar for dollar. So help us give back to an organization that gives us so much to be thankful for.

Search, Inc. is a non-profit organization that empowers adults with disabilities to achieve their full potential. Since 1997 we’ve proudly partnered with Search to offer clients job training and work opportunities in our warehouse, the Planet Access Company. Every Toad&Co item is picked, packed and shipped with unmatched enthusiasm and reliability by our warehouse crew. So it’s our turn to give back and say thanks.

Join us on Giving Tuesday, December 1st and see how powerful your purchase can be.