“I’m so excited to be a part of this expansive project centering on the life and legacy of Nina Simone, who has been a huge inspiration for so many.”
Venus Williams has joined the effort to restore the North Carolina childhood home of Nina Simone.
The tennis great is working alongside four well-known artists and the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund to raise money to renovate the birthplace of the late musical icon and civil rights activist.
Artists Adam Pendleton, Ellen Gallagher, Rashid Johnson, and Julie Mehretu purchased the dilapidated structure for $95,000 in 2017 in order to safeguard its legacy for generations to come.
“Born Eunice Waymon in Tryon in 1933, Simone nurtured an early love of music in her childhood home, a clapboard, three-room structure just 650 square feet in size,” a press release states. “The National Trust designated it a national treasure in 2018, and the organization’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund is working with the four artists who purchased the home—along with the Nina Simone Project, World Monuments Fund, and North Carolina African American Heritage Commission—to fully rehabilitate and activate the house as a means of sustaining the musician’s legacy in perpetuity.”
According to the release, Williams will support the multipart fundraiser by co-hosting a benefit gala on May 20 at Pace Gallery in New York. An online benefit auction will be conducted simultaneously by Sotheby’s, with key lots highlighted during the in-person event. The artworks in the sale, organized in partnership with the Action Fund, are co-curated by Pendleton and Williams.
“I’m so excited to be a part of this expansive project centering on the life and legacy of Nina Simone, who has been a huge inspiration for so many,” Williams said in a statement. “Each of the artists Adam and I have selected for the auction has a unique, powerful voice, and we’ve been moved by their generosity and enthusiasm for this important cause. It’s been a privilege to collaborate with Adam in curating the auction.”
The fundraiser “brings to fruition an unprecedented collaboration across the worlds of art, philanthropy, and historic preservation” to protect the childhood home of Simone, “whose cultural legacy is of great personal significance to all the artists donating work,” the press release states.
To make an individual donation to the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund’s Nina Simone Childhood Home preservation project, visit savingplaces.org/supportnina.
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