Vicki Richardson was born in 1945 in Wilmington, Delaware. As a junior in high school, she was one of 12 African American students chosen to integrate the school system. She was a Civil Rights activist in high school and, throughout college, writing letters to local newspapers and engaging in protests to desegregate public spaces. At Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, Richardson studied philosophy and theology. Inspired by the artwork of Charles White, John Biggers, Aaron Douglas, and other Harlem Renaissance painters, Richardson decided that art was her calling. She paid her way through college by teaching art at a recreation center. She went on to Vanderbilt University and later the University of Chicago where she had a Ford Foundation Fellowship to study inner-city education.
Richardson taught at Forestville High School in Chicago, Illinois where she was Chairwoman of the Art Department and later at Rancho High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, the city she settled in with her husband, Louis Richardson and their four children. After teaching in the Clark County School District for 18 years, Richardson moved into the business world. She owned four local businesses in addition to the Left of Center Art Gallery in North Las Vegas.