about the

anxious tomato

and the minds behind it

Ashley Laufer was an entrepreneur from a young age and was driven to share her art with others. Graduating from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a BFA in Fine Art, Laufer put her honed skills as a traditional illustrator and digital designer to work, selling original prints and stickers through Etsy. She officiated that business in 2017 and rebranded it as misslaufer in 2020. Although she found some success through selling her work she strived to provide more to the community. Laufer wanted to find a way to spread her accumulated knowledge to others, but had trouble finding a way to reach the artistic masses. 

Kate Roussell had graduated from the University of Washington with a BFA in Arts, Media & Culture but struggled to find her niche in the artistic industry. Finding work in an office instead of in front of a canvas, Roussell cultivated her administrative skills, but never lost her passion for the arts and the artistic community. Roussell began to dream of a way to unite the artistic community under one banner but struggled to bring that dream into reality.


Roussell and Laufer met in the midst of their individual challenges with connecting and locating the  artistic community. Roussell was an artistic minded partner in crime for Laufer. Together they found a balance between art and office, combining their dreams to create The Anxious Tomato.

The Anxious Tomato is more than a simple art gallery. It strives to provide more education and accessibility to art and artists in Tacoma and the surrounding areas. The Anxious Tomato aspires to be an experience for the public, ensuring that every individual involved leaves with a renewed view of art and the artists behind it.

If you are interested in being a part of The Anxious Tomato, please click HERE to submit your work, or HERE to donate!


Hello, I'm...

Ashley Laufer

Hello, I’m Ashley, Founder and Creative Director of The Anxious Tomato.

I started my journey through art way back when I was 8 years old and with the encouragement of my family, I pursued a career in art and eventually received my BFA in Visual Arts in 2014 from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. I moved to Tacoma, WA in 2015 in hopes to find the art career of my dreams.I have always been an advocate for sharing knowledge so I brought what I have learned over the years to the people in 2020 when my business partner Kate and I decided to keep the sense of community alive in the pandemic by creating our project, The Anxious Tomato. We are an educational, virtual gallery space where we assist individuals in feeling confident to share their work in a comfortable, non censoring environment. I myself have been painting for over 10 years and continue to create art as a side project while fulfilling my creative needs.

Creating is never a waste of time.

Hello, I'm...

Kate Roussell

Hello lovely people! I am Kate Roussell, one of the founders of The Anxious Tomato. I graduated from the University of Washington in 2016 with a BFA in Arts, Media & Culture but constantly struggled to find my place within the artistic community. Creating art was never my driving passion, but being surrounded by it always seemed vastly more vital to my survival. In my search to find art to surround myself with, I stumbled upon a small community of artists trying to make a difference in the Tacoma area by bringing artists together however they could. This experience opened my eyes to the potential influence I could have in the artistic community, and thus my passion for helping other artists reach their potential was born. The Anxious Tomato is driven by the need to help others succeed in their artistic endeavors. I define our success by when other people see their true potential and feel fulfilled in the work they are doing. As our efforts begin to extend past the digital realm, I become increasingly excited to see where we will go and whose lives we will affect.


Hello, I'm...


Stephanie Harding

Hello, my name is Stephanie Harding. I am ecstatic join the Anxious Tomato Art Gallery! I’m originally from Connecticut but I moved to Washington in 2016 from Orlando, Florida. I have a 7 year old son named Rob and a 2 year old Blue Heeler named Lola. I’m a huge history nerd. If we get into a conversation I’ll probably blurt out some little know history fact that has little to do with what we’re talking about. I love local and ancient history but I can really devour anything from the past. I have an A.A. in Art History and I recently graduated from University of Washington Tacoma with my B.A in Global History (Go Dawgs!). I’m currently working on my M.A in Library and Information Science so I can work as a librarian. The library was once the heart of the community and I want to bring it back to its grandeur. In my spare time I love to read (of course) and listen to podcast. I host a podcast with my friend Alycia called So, What Are You Reading? It’s a History and Book recommendation podcast where we talk about the history of book genres and interview guest about their reading background and allow them to recommend a book. I also like to go for hikes with my dog and camp on the beach or anything beach related. History and art go and in hand so I appreciate watching history develop through the eyes of artists.