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Neighborhood Series: SlingShot

“Through openness, curiosity and conversations with our neighbors, comfort and familiarity fill the streets of our stomping ground and our neighborhood becomes an extension of our home.” – Celine Delpoux, Senior Accountant at the Santa Barbara Foundation

Previously in the Neighborhood Series, we talked to Savoy Café and Deli and were inspired by the many organizations that they support in the community, such as SlingShot, Alpha Art Forum. So, we decided to ask Sue Dumm, Creative Director for SlingShot, what neighborhood means to the staff and artists that work there.

“We love our neighborhood because it is a fun, dynamic place filled with studios and businesses that support and help each other,” said Dumm. “That is what being a neighbor is - we share a unique sense of pride being in this part of town.”

Approximately five years ago, the Alpha Resource Center of Santa Barbara opened SlingShot at 220 W. Canon Perdido as a working art studio and gallery that promotes artists with developmental disabilities. Although the Alpha Resource Center has offered arts programming for adults with developmental disabilities since 1980, SlingShot is the first, and only, gallery downtown in the arts neighborhood that is open every day for artists to create different types of art to display and sell in a professional setting.

“SlingShot not only provides an avenue for adults with intellectual disabilities to express themselves through art, we hope to change attitudes around how people with developmental challenges are viewed,” said Dumm. “Instead of being viewed as someone with a disability, they are valued as an artist. Art is an equalizer.”

Artists at SlingShot produce art using various types of mediums, including clay, wood, ceramics, painting, drawing and shrink art. Their work is displayed in the gallery, which is part of the Downtown Organization’s First Thursday Art Walk, and at other locations downtown, such as Kyle’s Kitchen.

“We have so many great partners in our neighborhood. From Barbareño Restaurant, that donates to our annual wine and art event, to Frame, which mats all of our artists’ work. Frame has been a wonderful friend by promoting our gallery exhibitions to their customers. I just cannot imagine being in another part of town,” said Dumm.

Each artist at SlingShot has their own unique style. For example, Maria Arroyo enjoys drawing on her Mexican heritage and mixing it in with bright and fun images. Paul Weber really enjoys baseball and, after going to a Dodgers game with Dumm, made an entire series of drawings featuring Dodgers players. He said the thing that he likes best about coming to SlingShot is that he gets to draw the things that he likes.

“Our neighbors and supporters keep our artists thriving,” said Dumm. “The Willson Family Estate Vineyard in Carpinteria donates a portion of their harvest each year. They choose SlingShot artwork to feature on their labels. Even when your neighbors are not right next door, the idea of neighborhood expands to the entire community and that ‘neighborly sense’ really makes a difference in our work, the lives of our artists and the lives of all of those who have the chance to appreciate their art.”

Stay tuned for the next article in the Neighborhood Series as we continue the conversation with Barbareño, which caters SlingShot events, and find out what neighborhood means to them.
North County Headquarters:  (805) 346-6123  |   2625 S. Miller Street, Suite 101, Santa Maria, CA 93455
South County Headquarters:  (805) 963-1873  |  1111 Chapala Street, Suite 200, Santa Barbara, CA 93101