Jill Ziccardi was born and raised on Long Island (New York) in a traditional Italian working class family, and got-hooked on art as a teenager. She pursued an academic curriculum as a high school student but often struggled; art was an arena where she felt comfortable and successful.

After earning a BFA in Art (with honors) from Carnegie Mellon University and a MFA in Painting with a full-tuition merit scholarship awarded from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Ziccardi remained in Chicago and began exhibiting her work.

At age 26, she secured her first teaching job as a painting professor. She taught college students for the next 8 years in studio and classroom settings, focusing on a curriculum that explored the responsibility of the artist in society, an important subject for her. This led her out of academia and into underserved communities, using art as a vehicle to build relationships, visual literacy and community with low-income youth and families. Later, these experiences steered her to leadership positions at Free Arts NYC and other non-profit arts organizations.

In 2001, the artist returned to her native New York, and lived in Red Hook, Brooklyn until buying a house in Highland in 2010 where she and her partner now live and work. Ziccardi has maintained an active studio practice for over 40 years and continues to show her work locally and nationally. Her paintings can be seen in a number of private and museum collections across the United States.