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Nina home receives more celebrity support 

Phase one of the project completed 

TRYON—The restoration of the Nina Simone home in Tryon is well underway and has received the backing and support of some big celebrity names. In 2018, the National Trust for Historic Preservation designated the childhood home of Nina Simone as a National Treasure.  That label has been bestowed fewer than 100 times across the country, but the National Trust felt that the home deserved that recognition. 

On February 21, 1933 Eunice Kathleen Waymon (Nina Simone’s birth name) was born in Tryon, North Carolina in a small wooden home located at 30 East Livingston Street. Nina Simone is remembered as one of the most influential artists and activists of the civil rights era in the United States. 

In 2016, the vacant property went onto the market, at the time it was in a general state of disarray and in desperate need of repair. Four African-American visual artists; conceptual artist and painter Adam Pendleton, sculptor and painter Rashid Johnson, collagist and filmmaker Ellen Gallagher, and abstract painter Julie Mehretu, banded together to save the property. The group purchased the property in 2017 for $95,000 in order to save the structure and maintain a link to the history of Nina Simone.  

The project to restore the childhood home of Nina Simone began on April 29, 2019 when the National Trust and the HOPE Crew began restoring and preserving the exterior of the home.  

The project has began a crowd-funding campaign that will help support the restoration and preservation of the home that is almost 90 years old. Part of the campaign includes buying Nina Simone inspired merchandise that was designed by artist Dare Coulter. Additionally, singer John Legend, rapper Talib Kweli, and comedian Issa Rae, have donated merchandise to the National Trust that will help the fundraising efforts.  

Other notable names involved in the fundraising effort included Academy Award-winning actor Mahershala Ali and singer Yusuf/Cat Stevens. The pair have added their names to the campaign as well as donating merchandise.  

The restoration process will likely take some time to complete as the work is currently being done in phases as the money becomes available. With the spread of celebrity involvement, the project is sure to gain traction and a large scale following across the United States, and even on the global scale.  

Crys Armbrust, Tryon City Councilman and Founder/Executive Director of the Ninasimoneproject.org said, “The Nina Simone Project is pleased to have national and international celebrities join with us, the National Trust, and other project partners to preserve the childhood home of a Tryon daughter who went on to achieve international fame as an icon of popular music and civil rights activism.”  

To keep up to date on the project and to learn more about Nina Simone, visit, www.ninasimoneproject.org. To learn more about the National Trust for Historic Restoration and their other projects, visit; www.savingplaces.org 

By Samuel Robinson 

Sam.robinson@tryondailybulletin.com