Nicole Ashton Martin

Nicole Ashton Martin had a creative spark from day one. Growing up in the Midwest she was always searching for new ways to make everyday things extraordinary. As a young girl she started attending the Kansas City Art Institute, in Kansas City, MO where she thrived in the creative atmosphere focusing on the basics of life drawing, painting and sculpture. While still in high school, Nicole traveled to Boston, MA to attend the Art Institute of Boston. This experience in a new environment really inspired Nicole to combine all of her artistic talents in new and groundbreaking ways; giving Nicole her own personal mantra of creative thinking and knowing that anything is possible if you follow your vision, heart and keep pushing yourself forward with a open mind every day.

By the time Nicole was 17, she was ready to take that next step of discovery in her life and attended the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, CA. where she received her bachelor’s degree in Fine Art and Graphic Design and her master’s in Marketing. She began working for and with many Southern, California art agencies always focusing on how her work might be able to inspire everyone around her and help youth find their own creative path.

In 2000, after many visits to the Truckee Tahoe area, Nicole accepted a position with the ABC television affiliate in Reno, NV as Graphics Supervisor. This wonderful experience helped Nicole gain immense knowledge in Media Related Design, Live Broadcasting and Public Relations. Nicole spent many years in the corporate world of advertising working as a Designer, Marketing Coordinator and Creative Director for local and national campaigns, but always longed for just the right outlet to give back. In 2006, she found that outlet with a Waldorf Educational Initiative and Sierra Arts Foundation where she served as Creative Director and thrived in all that she was able to share with the community.

In 2011 Nicole took her desire to serve the community to the next level and founded Kindred Art and Folk Institute (a 501 (3) non-profit arts organization in Truckee, CA), which was a concept she had developed and wrote the mission for in 2006. Nicole, and her family call Truckee, CA home where they enjoy all things creative and immerse themselves in the beauty of the region.


Artists in Residence

Liz Fontaine

Raised amongst a variety of extra curricular activities and a family of educators, Liz has a passion for forming an alternative way to learning. She believes in community and finding ways to creatively express imagination. As a graduate of Westmont College, she received a Liberal Arts education with a BA in art in 2011. Travel was a continuous gift throughout her life and she continued to pursue travel in college through a study abroad program in Cortona, Italy. During this semester abroad she deepened her knowledge of art history and fell in love with many forms of creativity. Upon graduation she moved to Lake Tahoe and started a seasonal gelato shop in Tahoma, CA. Through the gelato shop she has been able to connect with the community and has realized her adoration for the children of this area. Tahoe is now home for Liz, and she thanks the lake everyday for its beauty and the giant playground the basin provides.

Shannon O’Leary

Home grown in California, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, waters, forests and creatures inspired Shannon O’Leary’s path. She rooted in Lake Tahoe to attend Sierra Nevada College, where she received her BA in Interdisciplinary Studies in Sustainability and minor in Art; her studies revolved around environmental stewardship, creative expression and community outreach. Becoming a part of this unique mountain community nurtured her growth over the years and developed her love of giving back. Shannon’s volunteer work ranges from food justice with Project MANA, Tahoe Food Hub and Slow Food Lake Tahoe to trail building with the Tahoe Rim Trail and Access Fund as well as spectrum of positions working music festivals across California.

A lover of all forms of art and maker of many things, she is continuously experimenting with mediums such as clay, leather, natural objects and anything she can get her hands on. The past two years Shannon has been Studio Manager and Art Facilitator at Martis Camp Club. Here she taught sculptural ceramics classes, provided a spectrum of projects for all ages and guided Art in Nature camp in the summers. Working closely with kids creating and witnessing their instinctual artistry has been the most rewarding. Children have taught her to make without overthinking and reinforced her belief that creativity and self expression is a channel to source and our unspoken selves.

Bennett Mitchell

My name is Bennett Mitchell. I am a musician, a writer, and an intern here at Kindred. I am a senior at Forest Charter School and a guitar teacher for the organization CAPO (Create and Participate

Organization). Working with kids has been such an amazing experience and I am very happy to now be apart of the Kindred family where I can create art and create memories.

Guest Artist

Matthew Osgood

I am a local professional artist living in Truckee. My Painted works are usually larger in scale. I work in acrylic medium but also merge conte, charcoal and ink to create effects in the works. My subject matter has an emphasis on the world around un through close up landscapes. Lately I have been studying water and the linear properties within.

I attended Otis Parsons school of Design, the Art Institute of Southern California and The University of Utah. Although painting is a huge part of my work I also work in wood, glass and metals.

Laurie Martin

Laurie Martin is a trained Dancing Freedom teacher and HealthRHYTHMS drum circle facilitator. Her business, RhythmU incorporates many of the arts offering experiences to diverse groups, ages 2 to 102, in school and out of school, for mental health, cancer recovery, senior living and memory care in the Reno/Tahoe region. Her passion is to bring people together in music and motion to promote well-being and create a welcoming, conscious community for all!”

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