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Castle of Our Skins: Belonging


On Sunday, November 5th, 2023, Hibernian Hall once again welcomed the community to embrace and celebrate Black artistry. Castle of Our Skins orchestrated an event that sought to create an intentional space of belonging. Jenny Oliver, the 2023-2024 Shirley Graham du Bois Creative in Residence, skillfully brought her vision to life through a combination of activation stations, human connection, and live performances.

Castle of Our Skins (COOS) stands as a dedicated Black arts institution committed to nurturing cultural curiosity and honoring Black artistry, particularly through music. The institution consistently challenges the disparities in cultural representation by spotlighting Black artists. The impressive line outside Hibernian Hall before the event commenced was a powerful testament to the robust support of our community.

From the instruments to the dance performances and the spoken word, the event was meticulously curated and successfully cultivated a sense of belonging, in line with its intended purpose. Throughout the proceedings, COOS prompted thought-provoking questions such as, “What does it mean to belong to a person, to a place, to yourself?” These inquiries invited attendees to reflect on the profound shifts and challenges of the past few years, emphasizing the importance of taking time to process one's sense of belonging. In a world marked by the disruptions of the pandemic, finding moments for introspection and forward movement can feel daunting.

Acknowledgments are due to COOS for providing this invaluable time for reflection. The event was not only intentional and thought-provoking but, most importantly, it offered a space for meaningful connections in a world where many aspects often feel disconnected. Supporting COOS is not just a gesture towards Black artistry; it is an investment in creating more opportunities for engaging in meaningful and impactful ways.

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