Debra was born and raised in rural Austin, Minnesota and spent summers at Birch Lake with her grandparents. These were days to explore and nurture her love of the outdoors and art. She and her Grandmother worked on art projects; painting, drawing, working with fabrics or making mosaics from lake pebbles and dried flowers. This was the start of Debra’s creative life. From these early days she continued to grow and explore new lands, creative mediums, and the arts.
After high school, Debra attended the Minneapolis College of Art and Design for a short time. She married and raised two sons and found the art of stained glass; making windows for commission to private and commercial clients. She also found a career as a certified professional picture framer and opened her own art and framing gallery business in Rochester, MN.
In 2000, Debra moved to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, working in the Art and Framing industry. In 2008, Debra received her Bachelor of Fine Art degree (BFA) from University of Wisconsin-Stout with a painting concentration. She then went on to work as Assistant Director of the Furlong Gallery at UW-Stout and Coordinator of Gallery 231, the student gallery at UW-Stout. Debra became involved in botanical illustration and created many watercolor botanical paintings that were displayed in local and national exhibitions.
Through the many stages in her life and careers she never forgot the beauty and wonder of working with glass. She decided to return to the medium and began to study mosaic art. Debra is currently a certificate student at the Chicago Mosaic School, where her studies with modern masters of traditional mosaic techniques further her skill and practice. Debra works with stained glass, stone, watercolor, pastel, and oil. She is currently working on a series of glass mosaics featuring Mid-West landscapes. Debra is a member of SAMA (Society of American Mosaic Artists) and the Minnesota Mosaic Guild. She has displayed her mosaic art in multiple local and national exhibitions. Her work is featured at Riverwood Art and Frame Gallery in Eau Claire, WI, and Lanesboro Arts Center in Lanesboro, MN. One can also see the scope of her art at her website debradsouza.com. Debra is also a part-time employee at Mayo Clinic and lives in Rochester, MN with her husband Peter and basset hound Flash.