She grew up in Western PA, attended Carnegie Mellon University and after graduation came to New York City to live, paint, and earn her Master’s Degree at NYU which enabled her to teach art at Pace University and Pratt art school.
Her most recent work is a series of iridescent paintings called Industrial Park, dealing with pollution, the extinction of plants, animals and global disasters. These works use oil paint with iridescent pigments to simulate the look of broken glass, mine tailings and rainbow like oil spills.
During the seventies she had four one woman shows in New York City, received a C.A.P.S. NY state graphics award, proposed and worked on 2 Heresies issues and wrote an article on ECOTAGE. Trips to the Galapagos Islands, Africa, the Grand Canyon and other travels stimulated her series of Billboard paintings depicting the hotspots of the world.
Grants from The Pollack-Krasner Foundation (2008), The Vogelstein and The Puffin Foundation enabled her to publish two catalogs and exhibit her Mythmaker series of 20 drawings at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Wash DC 2004-05. She won purchase awards at the Nassau County Museum, NY and the Hoyt Museum, PA. Her work is in the permanent collections of many museums: the National Academy of Sciences in Washington D.C., the Telfair, the Guild Hall, the Fogg Art Museum, Hunterdon, the Islip Museum, the Long Island Museum, the Heckscher Museum and others.
In March of 2008 Culbertson exhibited her political and ecological works at the National Museum, called Museo de los Ninos in San José, Costa Rica.
In August 2009 she exhibited her environmental works at The Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts in Blue Mountain, New York.