Betsy Stirratt was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and earned a BFA from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. She received an MFA from Indiana University in 1983, and worked as a graphic designer for the Pan American Games, IBM Corporation and other clients.

Stirratt is the Founding Director of the Grunwald Gallery of Art at Indiana University in Bloomington. As Director, she has curated numerous exhibitions including [Re]Imagining Science, Feminine Persuasion, Personal: Selections from the Robert J. Shiffler Collection, and Human Nature. She has edited several books and catalogs, including [Re]Imagining Science (with Christoph Irmscher), Indiana University Press (2017), Framing Beauty: Intimate Visions, Grunwald Gallery, Indiana University (2017), Human Nature, School of Fine Arts Gallery, Indiana University (2007), Les Vérités du Sexe (with Jeffrey A. Wolin), Editions Marval, Paris, France (French, German editions, 2003) and Feminine Persuasion: Contemporary Women’s Sexuality (with Catherine Johnson-Roehr), Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN (2003).

She has been exhibiting her paintings, books, objects and installations since 1983. Her work has been exhibited widely, including the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, White Columns and Art in General, New York, the City Gallery at Chastain, Atlanta, The Mütter Museum, Philadelphia, the Indiana State Museum and in Houston, Los Angeles and other locations. She is the recipient of several grants and awards, including a Visual Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and awards from the Indiana Arts Commission and the American Craft Council.