Family of PSU Art Practice student Lane Martin creates scholarship in his memory

Collage of images of Lane Martin making art, as a child with his mother, and a portrait of him smiling

The family of Portland State University art student Lane Martin has established an endowed scholarship in memory of Martin, who died during a mental health crisis in an encounter with Portland Police in July 2019. The Lane Martin Art Practice Endowed Scholarship will benefit students in the PSU Art Practice program who have overcome obstacles or personal adversity in their lives and are experiencing financial need.

Martin was an Art Practice major and work-study employee in the CORE program in the School of Art + Design, as well as a part-time employee for the university’s Facilities office. He joined PSU’s Art Practice program in fall 2018, after graduating from Portland Community College with an associate’s degree in graphic design. A dedicated art student and devoted member of the School of Art + Design community, he was a font of optimism, kindness and caring in the School. 

“His spirit and energy were inspirational in the classroom,” said Lis Charman, director of the School of Art + Design. “Lane was passionate about art and was a positive force for others.”

In fall 2020, Martin’s family received a settlement from the City of Portland, the result of a civil lawsuit they filed the same day a jury decided not to indict the officer responsible for his death.

In a statement released to press, Levi Merrithew Horst, PC, the law firm that represented the family in the lawsuit, said, “No amount of money can ever bring Lane back. However, Lane’s family is hopeful that this settlement sends a message to the Portland Police Bureau that they must do better when dealing with people in crisis. The family is looking forward to moving past the focus on his death to focusing on his life and helping to create a lasting legacy of that life. A portion of the settlement proceeds will go to a scholarship fund in his name at the school where he loved and was loved so deeply—the School of Art +Design, in the College of the Arts at Portland State University.”

His mother and brother, Cristi and Evan Martin, pledged to use funds from the settlement to help other students facing adverse circumstances to continue their studies and complete their degrees. In launching the scholarship, Cristi and Evan Martin have donated $100,000. In addition, Levi Merrithew Horst, PC, has also donated $50,000 to the scholarship, honoring Lane’s life and memory. The endowed scholarship will support Art Practice students experiencing need and hardship in perpetuity.

“Lane was one of the most engaged, and eager students I've had, and his enthusiasm elevated the engagement of the entire class,” wrote faculty member Tabitha Nikolai after Martin’s death. “We were all better for having him with us. He made work prolifically, often creating numerous responses to an assignment that only required one. He talked about what an important conduit for growth art was for him, that he was using it to transcend difficulties in his past. He was one of the most relentlessly positive people I can recall.”

“With this scholarship, we hope to carry forward his legacy of kindness in our school,” said Charman. “We can’t bring Lane back, but we can do our best to honor him by following his example of dedication, thoughtfulness and help for those in need.”

You can make a gift to the Lane Martin Art Practice Endowed Scholarship, online here or by mail:

Make check payable to PSU Foundation. On the check or in the enclosure, note the gift is for the Lane Martin Art Practice Endowed Scholarship and mail to:

PSU Foundation
PO Box 243
Portland, OR 97207

For more information, contact:
Jaymee Jacoby, Assistant Vice President for Development
503-890-4962 |


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