Staff Spotlight: Etta DeMartino

written by: Christina Fallon, Intern

Etta DeMartino joined the Gateway Arts Staff in the Fall of 2022 after earning a B.A. in Studio Art with a minor in Communications from The College of Wooster, Ohio. Etta previously volunteered at Creative Foundations in Mount Vernon, Ohio and interned at Summertime Gallery in Brooklyn, New York, both of which share Gateway Arts’ dedication to providing artistic development to adults with disabilities.

“I’ve been around art and creativity for as long as I can remember,” said Etta, whose mother is an art teacher. Etta’s artistic practice has involved ceramics, printmaking, and embroidery on paper, though recently, she has been experimenting with watercolor and collage. Her senior project focused on the Ohio landscape through the perspective of someone who had grown up and lived in New York City. During recent trips to Jacksonville, Florida and Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire, Etta created her own unique process of mixing water from local oceans and lakes into her paints.

six ceramic sculptures resembling grain towers rest on a white shelf with two photographs of a silhouetted rural landscape, featuring grain towers, hang above

Installation Shot of Etta’s Senior Thesis Project


Etta’s role at Gateway is that of a “Float” Facilitator, meaning that she works across all studios at Gateway Arts, covering staff absences and helping with special projects. Etta enjoys her role as a “float” because it allows her to work with all the artists and utilize every medium that is offered in each studio. She has learned new processes and found a new respect for the fiber arts in particular. The weaving studio was (at first) a place of unfamiliarity, but she unexpectedly discovered an interest in and an appreciation for the medium. Now, she is excited about implementing needle felting into the artists’ array of mediums. She also shares collage techniques from her own practice and often recycles excess paint onto scrap paper for future collaging.

The artists appreciate their time with Etta because of her ability to adapt to her changing responsibilities for the day and the element of surprise that comes with her position. She has noticed that the limited and unplanned nature of her time with the artists sometimes affects the pace of their work, creating a sense of urgency. Etta manages her time with artists on a day-to-day basis and widens her own knowledge of artistic practice, which then transfers to the artists’ individual processes and learning styles.

Etta encourages Gateway artists to follow the spontaneous nature of her role in their own art by being open to change and taking risks. She prompts artists to question why they prefer working with certain mediums and motivates them to step out of their comfort zone.

a young woman in a light green tshirt with a short, light brown pony tail, is needle felting with purple and blue wool roving on a yellow sponge, while a young woman with dark, medium length hair in a speckled brown tshirt, leans over to assist.

Etta working with artist Leah Dunn

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