#CityArtistCorps Recipients Aren’t Winners

Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons
5 min readNov 1, 2021

October marked the culmination of hundreds of New York City Artist Corps (CAC) events across the city, so let’s take a moment to acknowledge that this relief grant is not “found money.”

Dear Fellow CAC Grant Awardees,

I am writing to congratulate you on your recent public engagement event but more importantly, to emphasize that you did not win the $5000 award created to activate the arts across NYC’s five boroughs this summer and fall.

You earned that shit.

Admittedly, I am projecting as there was an element of chance to me being selected as one of the 3,000 working artists chosen for the City Artist Corps recovery initiative created by Mayor de Blasio in the spring of 2021.

I applied at the beginning of the summer in support of No, YOU Tell It! — a nonfiction series I created where participants develop their true-life tale on the page and then swap stories to step into each other’s experiences on stage.

The powers that be didn’t select my application in the first round but deemed it eligible. Therefore, I was automatically entered into the second and third rounds alongside an enormous lottery of artists vying for this one-time grant.

Opening the notification for the third and final round to find CONGRATULATIONS screaming off the screen instead of the mewling I regret to inform you message I regularly receive in response to writing submissions, fellowships, and grant applications, felt…



Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons

Writer, educator, and producer of No, YOU Tell It! (noyoutellit.com) Stalk my Insta adventures @KJ_Fitzsimmons @noyoutellit