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Grantee: Chelsea Martin

Project Title: Art School
Year awarded: 2020, Round 3

SAGA support will allow Chelsea Martin to focus on the creation of her upcoming novel, Art School.

Art School is a novel about a young second-year art student, Joey, who is suddenly grappling with big questions: What ties us to our family? What should we look for in friends? Should I feel guilty for wanting better than what I was raised with? Do poor people deserve to make art? What is the purpose of creating art? Unable to answer any of these questions, Joey desperately hurls herself toward one poorly conceived film project, hoping it will give her some answers.

Martin is using this novel project to attempt a deep character study that sheds light on the inner conflicts one faces in the unwitting attempt to move between social classes and the choice to be an artist when one doesn’t have the financial means or background that supports that lifestyle. This level of analysis means that Martin requires ample time to focus on understanding the character’s desires and conflicts and knowledge base, and to explore ways of telling this story that are true to her 19-year-old protagonist.

Chelsea’s hope for this project is that its humorous treatment of the strange social atmosphere of an undergrad arts program will open a conversation about how our culture supports (or doesn’t support) artists, especially those who come from dysfunctional homes with no financial security. She believes Spokane is home to so many artists that fit this description, and she hope that the publication of this book can inspire those from less-fortunate backgrounds to pursue their art despite the cultural obstacles.