2024 Queens Art Fund Recipient

I’m excited to announce that No, YOU Tell It! is a 2024 Queens Arts Fund recipient!

This project-based grant will enable us to bring NYTI “Left My Heart” in partnership with the Greater Astoria Historical Society to Grove 34 in Astoria on June 5 and a second show in September.

Get your June tickets here.

Thank you to the New York Foundation for the Arts and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs for helping to support this work!

Click here for the full 2024 Queens Arts Fund award announcement.

Be sure to follow #QAF2024 for details on when and where you can experience the arts in Queens this calendar year!

Queens & Me: Personal Writing Workshop

Want to explore writing personal essays? Interested in learning more about Queens’ history? Do both!

Join our own Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons on April 17th (6:30-8 pm) at The Astoria Bookshop for a FREE workshop inspired by our May 2023 No, YOU Tell It! “Here & Gone” show. Space is limited. Click here to reserve your spot today.

Engage with this stunning piece by Astoria-based artist Yelena Tylkina depicting history highlights – Westinghouse Time CapsuleNorth BeachAstoria Pool Sentinels, and The First Photocopy – from the Greater Astoria Historical Society archives, and tell your story!

Get the Queens “Here & Gone” image and view more of Yelena’s artwork via Fine Art America.

Copies of the No, YOU Tell It! Ten-Year Anthology will be available at the workshop.

A Holiday Stroke

My mother and I have spent hours making ornaments, coloring holiday pictures, and decorating gingerbread people during her two weeks in the rehabilitation center. But does that mother-daughter time count if she doesn’t remember it?

Published in ENGAGE on Medium

Happy New Year to all.

My essay “A Holiday Stroke” captures a small part of my mother’s stroke and our December together. Blessed to have spent this difficult time with my family.

You can access it through my friend link HERE if you aren’t a Medium member.

Wishing you the best for 2024 and beyond.

College Essay Workshops at Model Lab

As a former AP Program Information writer for the College Board, Kelly Jean now leads college essay writing workshops across the country with the purpose of teaching students how to extend their story in the reader’s mind through a college essay.

Model Labratory School at Eastern Kentucky University

Last week, I had the honor of visiting Model Laboratory School in Kentucky to lead a three-day college essay writing workshop for the seniors and juniors to help them find and focus their personal stories. ✏️🗒

We even had a No, YOU Tell It!-style story swap on the final day, where they read each other’s drafts out loud and gave group feedback to inform their revisions. Here are some student takeaways about their stories and the experience of writing personal narratives:

I used to think college essays had to be about trauma, but now I know it can be about small moments, too.

I used to think failure was a bad thing, but now I know it makes you who you are.

I used to think I couldn’t support my friends when they needed it, but now I know there is more than one way to express compassion.

I used to think that playing music was a passion only serving myself, but now I know that it is a gift that can be shared with anyone who is willing to listen.

I used to think that I had it all planned out, but now I know that I can’t prepare for everything.