May 20, 2023
Nina Simone’s childhood home
In an initiative to commemorate Nina Simone, artists have put their work up for auction to make the home of the soul music legend and civil rights activist a cultural site, with the support of famous tennis player Venus Williams.
The dwelling, a modest pillared house with a front porch and wood façades, is located on a hill in the small town of Tryon, in rural North Carolina, in the southeastern United States.
It was for sale in 2017 when 4 artists, Julie Mihreto, Eileen Gallagher, Rashid Johnson and Adam Pendleton, bought it for $95,000 to keep it from disappearing.
“Nina Simone fought for an inclusive and diverse America,” says Adam Pendleton. Allowing people to see and visit her hometown is a way to keep her heritage and her music alive for future generations, he explains to AFP from inside the Pace Gallery in New York, where the works have been put up for sale in recent days.
“Over the past five years, we’ve raised $500,000, which has been used in part for shoring and painting,” explains Brent Leggs, a specific program director for Black American Heritage at the National Trust for Historic Preservation who works with the artists.
But the 60 square meter house still needs financing. To become a permanent and open site for visits and cultural events.
To give a boost to these efforts, the artists have collected eleven works, including paintings signed by Cecily Brown or Sarah Sze, the proceeds of which will support the project.