Andrews graduated from the College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, and received her Master's degree in American Folk Culture from the Cooperstown Graduate Program, New York. She also attended the Winterthur Institute at the Winterthur Museum and the Attingham Summer School in England where she pursued further studies in decorative arts.
An acknowledged authority on folk art and textiles, she has written numerous articles and catalogues including Black Belt to Hill Country: Alabama Made Quilts; Southern Quilts: A New View, quilt and needlework chapters for Made in Alabama: A State Legacy, the introduction to the book Revelations: Alabama’s Visionary Folk Artists, and edited and contributed essays to Pictured in My Mind: Contemporary American Self-Taught Art.
As Director, Andrews has overseen several groundbreaking exhibitions and helped establish the Birmingham Museum of Art as an important presenter of works rarely seen in America, including The First Emperor: Treasures from Ancient China, which opened in July 1996 and was the first exhibition in the U.S. to focus on the First Emperor, with 14 life-size terra-cotta figures, among other objects. Major exhibitions during her tenure also include Kamisaka Sekka: Rimpa Master?Pioneer of Modern Design, the first retrospective of the artist, which opened in May 2004. The Museum also has hosted sought-after traveling exhibitions, including Pompeii: Tales from an Eruption, in October 2007, which drew nearly 100,000 visitors from around the country. Most recently, Andrews’s interest in folk art inspired the installation of a new, 10,000-square-foot exhibition of Alabama Folk Art, which featured art from around the state and from the Museum’s permanent collection in a yearlong presentation. In the fall of 2008, the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: Drawings from the Biblioteca Reale in Turin will bring 11 rarely seen drawings by Leonardo to Birmingham as well as his Codex on the Flight of Birds which has never been seen before in the U.S.
A passionate believer in the transformative role of museums in the cultural life of the community, Andrews is actively involved in a variety of arts and educational organizations locally, regionally, and nationally. She was a member of the 1983 Leadership Birmingham class, a member of the 1997-98 Leadership Alabama program, and is a member of the Rotary Club of Birmingham. In June 2007, she was elected President of the Association of Art Museum Directors.