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Debra Riffe

Museum Gallery, July 7- August 1, 2022

DEBRA EUBANKS RIFFE is a native of Tupelo (Lee County), Mississippi. She earned her BFA from Howard University, College of Fine Arts, Washington DC and has been a professional graphic designer and illustrator for more than thirty years. Her studio practice is, exclusively, original hand-printed relief prints of woodcuts and linoleum blocks.

While living abroad, in the northwestern seaport city of Barranquilla, Colombia, South America, Debra discovered a common set
of experiences that paralleled traditional life patterns of small towns in the American south. Civil rights activism, food apartheid, environmental injustice, illiteracy and the customs and traditions practiced within the African American community are topics that continually shape her visual narratives.

Debra has exhibited extensively. A few in-state venues include the Alabama Center for the Arts (Athens), Jemison Carnegie Heritage Hall (Talladega), Johnson Center for the Arts (Troy), Wiregrass Museum of Art (Dothan), Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts (Florence), Lowe Mill Arts (Huntsville), ArtsRevive (Selma), Rosa Parks Museum (Montgomery), Meridian Museum of Art (Meridian, MS), Gumtree Museum of Art (Tupelo, MS), and the Freedom Rides Museum/Historic Montgomery Greyhound Bus Station where she has a linoleum block relief print of civil rights activist James Peck on permanent display. Indian Springs School (Indian Springs, AL), the University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point (WI) and Dillard University (New Orleans, LA) hold an exclusive portfolio of thirty 16” x 20” linoleum block prints entitled “Holding the Line.” The black and white images were created to honor the activists and foot soldiers of the 1963 Birmingham Civil Rights Campaign and marked the 50th year anniversary of the iconic event.

Additionally, Debra participates in a select number of juried art festivals, annually, and has been the recipient of many awards. A few of those awards include an Award of Distinction (2011, 2014) Kentuck Festival of the Arts; Merit and Permanent Collection
Purchase Awards (2012, 2019), Bluff Park Art Show, Hoover, AL; Judge’s Award (2018), Bluff Park Art Show, Hoover, AL; Best in Show
(2019) ArtsRevive/Roots & Wings, Selma, AL; the Highest Merit Award (2020), Meridian Museum of Art (Meridian, MS); Inaugural Recipient Award (2019), Collectors Circle of Contemporary Art, Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL; and a Merit Award (2020), Red Clay Survey, Huntsville Museum of Art.
Starbucks joined the Dannon Project, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Alabama Tourism Department to advance efforts to
empower local youth, living in underserved communities, by providing in-store training opportunities. Debra was selected as the first African-American female artist in Alabama to create a 22’ x 12’ custom mural for a full-service Starbucks Community Store —
located at Crossplex Village Ensley–Five Points West. It is the 11th Community Store nationwide and the first in Alabama.

Debra taught a 16-week pilot printmaking class at the St. Clair Correctional Facility, Springville, AL, as an instructor with the
Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project (APAEP). APAEP is administered by Auburn University and is dedicated to bringing art and educational opportunities to the adult prison population at medium- and maximum security facilities, in Alabama.

In November 2019, the Birmingham Museum of Art (BMA) Collectors Circle for Contemporary Art presented Debra with an inaugural
“Artist Award.” A portfolio of original woodcuts and linoleum block relief prints were acquired by the BMA, in 2021, for the Permanent Collection. Included in the acquisition is a narrative entitled “walk, in the direction you goin’ in” comprised of twenty-four
16’’ x 20’’ black & white linoleum block panels.

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