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.

Morrain Bauer

Morrain was born under an almond tree in a small community in Northern California in 1992. She discovered an appreciation for the natural world and its potential for creative inspiration at a young age. She accredits this to the time she spent exploring the abundant landscape of the Lost Coast and the surrounding mountain ranges. She began exploring mixed media artwork in depth when she joined the Arcata Arts Institute during high school in 2009 . It was then that Morrain realized her time and energy was best spent exploring the potential of art making. In 2012, she received an art scholarship to Sierra Nevada College (SNC). This gave her the opportunity to enter the new and equally inspiring landscape of Tahoe.

During her time at SNC, Morrain’s skill sets were expanded exponentially. She took every opportunity she could to learn about new materials and techniques. From paper making and image transfer workshops in the summer to indigo dying in Japan; she has felt at home with every material. Although she received her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in 2016, she also participated in Outdoor Adventure Leadership (ODAL) classes while at SNC. The ODAL program allowed her to explore hiking in Desolation Wilderness, whitewater rafting on the Rogue River in Oregon, and Wilderness First Responder skills.

Although she has spent much of her time exploring the natural world and expanding her own art practice, Morrain has also been assisting and teaching kid’s art workshops every summer since 2013. For her, this experience has reaffirmed the idea that art making comes naturally to us humans. Through this affirmation, she has come to realize that she loves the process of helping others find that truth; there is no “good” or “bad” in art, there is only the process of discovery.

Currently, Morrain strives to spend the majority of her time outdoors and/or immersed in her art practice, usually alongside her amazing husband, Slava. She focuses her life around seeking inspiration that highlights the importance of sustainable art and life practices. She feels as though these two aspects of existence have a seamless connection and that teaching this wisdom is vital for all generations.


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!”









Meghan Ruiz

Meghan Ruiz is a yoga instructor, henna artist and jewelry designer in Truckee, CA. At a young age she began creating and selling jewelry. Over the years, her love of crystals has evolved into a line of jewelry that is simple and elegant; showcasing the stones she handpicks. In 1999, she was introduced to henna at a motorcycle rally in South Dakota and has since been practicing this unique style of art on bodies, canvases, candles, and wood burning. And then during a summer course in college in 2001 she was introduced to yoga. She completed a teacher training program in 2009 and currently teaches vinyasa-style classes and workshops in Truckee and Squaw Valley. During any free time she loves reading, enjoying the outdoors and just being… with her family, which includes her husband and 3 boys, and friends.

Interns and Mentors

Johan Sotelo

Johan Sotelo has been volunteering since he was in 4th grade. He would always help his teachers and over the years he started helping out at many non-profit organizations. Volunteering is his number one passion and always has fun when doing it. He was born in Turlock, California and then moved up to Truckee two months later. He loves being here in Truckee and being part of an awesome community. Johan recently graduated from middle school at Sierra Expeditionary Learning School and is very excited to be attending high school at Tahoe Expedition Academy, where he will be able to continue the Expeditionary Education that he likes. He is very excited to be part of the Kindred Family this summer and can’t wait to be working with all the awesome kids.

Madison Wedman

Hey there! i’m Madison, i’m 13 and in eight grade. i’m excited to spend my summer with you! Im excited to attend SELS for my last year before High School! Some of my other passions that I do when i’m not with kindred are girls scouts, basketball, paddle boarding, and of course hanging out with my friends! Next year my girl scout troop and i plan on going to Costa Rica and finish our Sliver Award. One of my favorite passions is basketball. I have been playing for 3 years and last year my team and I made it to championships and got second place. I am also apart of Jam on It, a basketball academy in Reno/Sparks. I’ve have been with kindred since I was in fourth grade. recently last year I became a mentor for Kindred. one of my most favorite projects was ink printing and getting to present my artwork at Coffee Bar and Summit Swirl. I’m so excited to spend my time with young creative working minds and have fun doing it as well.s.

Chance Merritt

“Hey there! My name is Chance Merritt and i am proud to be a member of the Kindred community. i’m a pretty easy-going person that has an interest in the creative arts. I’ve always had a passion for helping and empathizing with at risk individuals.

Some of my interests include, but are not limited to: Writing, martial arts, rock climbing, and psychology. I’m always here to talk to so don’t be afraid to say hi!


Kiely Rondi

I AM Kiely Coyote. I AM an antelope; athletic and joyous. I AM an American Flag; honest and free. I AM a bear; protective and neighborly. I AM a tree; accomplished and self guided. I AM a dolphin; sympathetic and helpful. I AM a narwhal; unique and graceful. I AM a pencil; slender, yet making my own mark. I AM a tie-dye T shirt; erupting with color. I AM berries; sweet with just a little bit of sour. I AM a kaleidoscope, with my own point of view. I AM paint; messy and colorful. I AM a sailboat; tacking to and fro. I AM a river; beating my own path through the forest. I AM a the night; quietly bursting with stars. I AM a bird; singing cheerful songs. I AM a turtle; adventurous, but always at home. I AM a fairy; mischievously flitting through life. I AM a waterfall; thundering with courage. I AM Kindred.