Home / People / Debra Edgerton /

Debra Edgerton is an Assistant Professor in the School of Art at Northern Arizona University. Her work speaks to issues concerning identity, perception, race politics, and environmental justice. Ms. Edgerton received MFAs at the San Francisco Art Institute and Vermont College in Interdisciplinary Art.

In 2020 Ms. Edgerton merges arts and science to discuss water issues and sustainability in the exhibition Parched: the Art of Water in the Southwest. Her research and collaboration with leading biologists, scientists, and engineers demonstrates the importance creative thinking in the development of a body of work.

In addition, in 2021 Ms. Edgerton completed a grant through the Arizona Commission on the Arts that tackled the issue of image perception for women of color related to the topics of grief and spirituality. A component to the project consisted of in-depth interviews with women from various belief systems discussing how they deal with death and loss. Two paintings in this series have garnered the High Winds Awards through the American Watercolor’s International Exhibitions. One of these painting displayed in Italy for the Fabriano in Acquarello exhibition in both Bologna and Fabriano, Italy.

Ms. Edgerton most recently received a 2022 Scholarly and Creative Activity Award Grant, a 2022 McAllister Fellowship, and received a Research Associate position with the Museum of Northern Arizona. Her work will examine fresh water ecosystems in the Colorado Plateau, their community relationships, and their correlation to human communities of color.
Ms. Edgerton has received multiple honors and awards for her art highlighted by the Edgar Whitney Memorial Award, TWSA Master Status Award, and Master status through the National Watercolor Society. She spent a residency in Venice, Italy and a fellowship in Osaka, Japan. The fellowship lead to an invitation to present on the topic of race and culture at Kansai University. Diversity is key to Ms. Edgerton’s scholarship. She was in a groundbreaking Exhibition entitled Cinema Remixed and Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Image Since 1970 at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and Spelman College. One of her paintings is in the permanent collection of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Other distinctions Ms. Edgerton has received include the Provost Award for Faculty Excellence in Global Learning, Commission on the Status of Women Outstanding Achievement and Contribution to Diversity, Arizona Commission on the Arts Research and Development Grant, VanDenburg Grant, and Contemporary Forum Artist Grant .