City Artist Corps

Artist wearing a mask and a City Artist Corps shirt paints a mural outside

Announced in May 2021, the New York City Artist Corps was a historic investment in artists by the City of New York. The $25 million program was created to provide relief to the City's hard-hit arts community and reinvigorate arts and culture as part of the City's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to giving New Yorkers opportunities to experience a diverse range of free cultural programming across the boroughs, City Artist Corps ensured that more than 3,000 working artists were supported in their own right, recognizing their labor as critical to the City's recovery.

Through a number of partners, City Artist Corps provided thousands of grants and support to artists in all disciplines across New York City:

Click a topic, or press the enter key on a topic, to reveal its answer.

City Artist Corps Grants

A performer with a disability dances, arms reached out sitting on a wheelchair
Photo by Andrew Kelly

City Artist Corps Grants (CACG) supported NYC-based working artists who were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 with unrestricted relief grants. Lead partners Queens Theatre and New York Foundation for the Arts worked with more than a dozen re-grant and art services organizations to distribute $5,000 grants to 3,000 artists. As part of the program, CACG members presented workshops, exhibitions, performances, installations, murals, and much more-free and open to all New Yorkers– from July through October. For more information, visit NYFA's website.

See below for more information about the 3,000 artist grantees.

Pie chart showing the percentage of CAC members from each borough
The top three boroughs represented amongst CACG recipients were Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan.
Weighted CriteriaTotal
Disability 396
Low Income 467
Heavy-Hit ZIP Code 1699
Disability & Low Income 62
ZIP Code & Low Income 155
ZIP Code & Disability 224
Disability, Low Income, & ZIP Code 30
Over 71.7% (2,151) of CACG recipients were from weighted criteria.

EthnicityTotal %
Asian/East Asian/South Asian/Southeast Asian 15.33%
Black/African/Caribbean/African-American 19.53%
Hispanic/Latinx/Chicanx 18.83%
Multi-racial 4.37%
Native American/Alaska Native/Indigenous/FIrst Nations 0.73%
Native Hawaiin or other Pacific Islander 0.60%
Prefer not to disclose 7.33%
Prefer to self-describe 2.23%
Southwest Asian (Middle Eastern)/North African(SWANA/MENA) 2.63%
White/Caucasian 28.40%
The largest ethnic groups represented amongst grant recipients were White (28.4%), African American (19.53%), and Hispanic (18.83%).
Bar graph displaying the artistic disciplines represented through CAC
The top three disciplines amongst recipients were Visual Arts (21.5%), Music/Sound (21.37%), and Theatre and Performance (13.27%).

Explore over 7,000 Instagram posts about City Artist Corps grantees' work.

City Artist Corps Showcases

A performer wearing a yellow dress is on stage. Three others are in the back.
Photo by Andrew Kelly

In October 2021, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the culmination of the New York City Artist Corps program with showcases at several arts and cultural venues throughout NYC. City Artist Corps members held public workshops, installations, and performances at venues including Chelsea Market via non-profit partner StreetLab, Queens Museum, Queens Theatre, Laguardia Performing Arts Center, The Clemente, and Open Streets. Queens Theatre served as organizing and venue partner. Learn more about the showcases.

City Canvas: Bridging the Divide

A City Artist Corps member engages with students drawing in a gymnasium

Through the support of City Artist Corps and the City Canvas pilot initiative, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and the nonprofit ArtBridge commissioned 60 artists to install temporary public murals and other artwork on sidewalk sheds and construction fencing throughout the City's public housing system. The program built on ArtBridge's Bridging the Divide program, in which artist fellows based at NYCHA engaged with residents through workshops to create artworks that reflected their lives, histories, and aspirations.

NeON Arts: Beautify NYC

People gather in front of a colorful mural celebrating Bed-Stuy and its icons
Photo by Michaela Muserra

Under the Beautify NYC program, young people across New York City engaged in creative public arts projects, including mural-making, photography workshops and exhibits, Kombit urban farming, and more. The 21 Beautify NYC projects took place in 7 neighborhoods across the boroughs, with input from community stakeholders. The collaborative arts program was administered by the NYC Department of Probation, via its NeON Arts program, in partnership with Carnegie Hall. Learn more about NeON Arts.

Watch a video about the Beautify NYC program.

Arts Education

People gather in front of a colorful mural celebrating Bed-Stuy and its icons

City Artist Corps provided funds for 560 artists to provide robust arts education opportunities at 227 elementary, middle, and high schools beginning in the summer and through fall 2021. Artists engaged more than 22,000 students in exciting, dynamic projects, including mural-making, musical and dance performances, and cultural workshops. With a wide reach in communities across the boroughs, the transformative partnership allowed students to hone their skills in a variety of disciplines, while presenting their work publicly for their communities to enjoy.

Watch a video of Summer Rising performances.

The People's Festival

People sit in front of The People's Bus. Many wear orange People's Bus shirts.
Photo by Corazon Aguirrea
Three people with pink shirts install beads on the ceiling of The People's Bus.
Photo by Yazmany Arboleda

With City Artist Corps' support, approximately 100 artists participated in The People's Festival during the summer of 2021. The Festival was created by the Civic Engagement Commission and Public Artist in Residence (PAIR) Yazmany Arboleda, centering around The People's Bus, a decommissioned city bus transformed into a mobile community center. At six stops across all five boroughs, artists and Festival partners led musical and dance performances, held know-your-rights workshops and participatory budgeting trainings, and directed residents to a broad range of other City resources. Learn more about The People's Festival.

Artists' Testimonies on City Artist Corps Grants

Two people, one with rabbit ears, perform in a production of Peter Rabbit
Carly Wesby's neighborhood production of Peter Rabbit in Queens. Photo by Synthia Steiman
  1. It was important to me to offer my project in my own community where I have spent so much time during the pandemic. To me the spirit of this grant was meant for the public, to revitalize the city's cultural life and welcome audiences back into the concert hall and other spaces. This grant was an extremely powerful part of my year… Receiving this grant and performance opportunity put me back on my feet and into my work and the world in a very enriching way. - Katie Zaffrann, Bronx
  2. 「城市藝術家團資助金」是一個非常好的項目,在過去的幾個月中,我和朋友們參與了大大小小數十個由CAC grant贊助的相關藝術性活動,對於華埠的發展和促進文化多元化發展都有很好的效果。這些項目吸引了來自不同領域的、不同文化背景和年齡階層的觀眾、參與者來到華埠,為整個社區的經濟、文化都做出了很大的推進作用。希望以後還有這樣的項目。非常感謝「城市藝術家團資助金」的資助。- Chenyun Huang, Manhattan
  3. Through receiving the grant, we were able to gather, create and share in the most healing of ways. As an active spoken word poet in the NYC community, I have seen how this has inspired some younger writers to now participate in other poetry events. I have also seen how this grant has inspired many of the other artists and creators to share their work on Staten Island, which is a thriving borough that often is overlooked. Thank you for the organizers, and thank you for all of the help in supporting our borough and the greater NYC community to continue to create. It is our lifeline. - Jenny Pisani, Staten Island
  4. Suvenciones como estás deberían ser ofrecidas a artistas de todas las disciplinas con más frecuencia. Permite crear actividades para el público y crear conexiones más directas entre los asistentes y el arte.- Ana Del Hierro, Brooklyn
  5. I am so grateful to City Artist Corps for distributing these grants. It has been a dream of mine to perform on the stage at Windmuller Park since I moved to the neighborhood almost 4 years ago. I've been fortunate to meet some amazing people in my neighborhood who are also involved in the arts, and who I met simply because we are parents. We came up with the idea of starting a neighborhood Arts Collective, and this grant made it possible for myself and my co-founder to get it going and hold our first events. Thank you so much. - Carla Wesby, Queens
  6. After the loss of my husband and band leader in 2018, I was just starting to get back on my feet again in my 40's when the pandemic forced everything to shut down. I wasn't sure if I could ever recover from these setbacks. This grant has done a great deal to get me back on my feet. It has not only helped my immediate finances, but allowed me to stage an amazing event that moved a lot of people, giving me the opportunity to work with people I never would have been able to before by sharing the funds with them, and to make connections with people in the visual art realm as well. This brought, not only immediate financial relief, but gave a long-term career re-boost to most everyone involved. - Reg Bloor, Manhattan
  7. This really felt like an excellent opportunity to present work that we had been dying to find an outlet for and it felt surreal to be able to present it with my dream team of musicians and artists who I could compensate adequately through this grant. I was also blown away by all the other grant recipients and the huge surge in live art in the city. It really does feel like a cultural renaissance in New York. - Utsav Lal, Brooklyn