Jill Ziccardi was born in Freeport, NY and grew up in Farmingdale in a traditional Italian working class family, but got hooked on art as a teenager. She holds a BFA in Art (with honors) from Carnegie Mellon University (1986) and was awarded a full-tuition merit scholarship to pursue her MFA in Painting from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1989).

Ziccardi spent 25+ years working in arts education and program development in academia as a painting professor (The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Valparaiso University, ACM Chicago Arts Program, Columbia College, University of Illinois) a museum educator (Art Institute of Chicago, Guggenheim) and non-profit leadership (Free Arts NYC, Oasis, 1199SEIU Employer Child Care Corporation, Police Athletic League, among others).

After living in Chicago for 16 years, Ziccardi moved back to her native NY in 2001 to Brooklyn and commuted on her bike in the city until she bought a house in Highland, NY in 2010 and then became a MetroNorth commuter. In 2013, she made a decision to shift her work environment closer to home and worked local temporary teaching gigs intermittently at Mill Street Loft and Ramapo for Children, but she and her partner now run a business from their home.

Ziccardi is an accomplished artist, a passionate educator and a do-gooder, and has always maintained an active studio practice and has been exhibiting her work locally and nationally for decades. She currently lives/works in the Hudson Valley.