Maybe you haven’t had the chance to meet Chessy Ricca, because she’s usually working back in the curatorial studio, assisting Curator Linda Geary, researching and planning exhibits for both the Elliott and the House of Refuge.

Chessy is a relatively new member of our staff, who first came to the Elliott as a master’s level intern in the Florida Studies program at the University of South Florida.

She has a deep love for Florida history, and currently serves as vice president of the Loxahatchee Battlefield Preservationists; she also is an accomplished artist, with a degree in fine arts.

Chessy extends her passion to paint fish into her passion to protect and conserve the dwindling fish population. She also works as a female sports fishing instructor for Marlin University, a subsidiary of Marlin Magazine.

“I want to help change the face of the sports fishing industry and educate the public about the importance of catch and release,” says Chessy. “It’s not a man’s sport anymore.”

Chessy just returned from a five-day excursion in Guatemala, where she was one of three female instructors who taught a group of women, ages 34 to 75, on the complete process of responsible sport fishing.

“If you look closely,” she says, “a fish has every color of the rainbow, and that’s what I try to capture with my paintbrush.”

Chessy recently conducted a plein air painting workshop through the Elliott Museum, modeling the techniques of Florida’s Highwaymen artists. Be on the lookout for more of her painting workshops in the future!