Nina Simone archive

Published 11:36 am Tuesday, June 23, 2020

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Project announces $2 million capital campaign for new building

TRYON—An archive for Nina Simone will be constructed across from the statue in downtown Tryon.

The Nina Simone Project announced on Friday it is launching a $2 million capital fund campaign for the construction of the new building.

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The building will be located on a current empty lot on Trade Street, directly across from the Nina Simone Plaza with a statue of the “High Priestess of Soul,” who was born and raised in Tryon.

The archive for Simone was planned in 2006 and will be constructed at 65 S. Trade St.

The archive will include rare recordings of Simone’s, scores, set lists, manuscripts, contracts, personal diaries and letters.

The NSP has been collecting items to place in the archive for 14 years. The collection includes the signed, original “Spotlight on Nina Simone” column that Langston Hughes wrote for the Chicago Defender in November 1960 as well as a stage cape Simone wore during performances.

“This building is conceived to be the central repository for primary and secondary documents, memorabilia and ephemera associated with Simone’s life, both as a musical icon and civil rights activist,” Founder and Chair of the NSP Dr. Crys Armbrust said. “Her importance in both of these contexts should not be underestimated. We hope this collection will continue to inspire scholars, students and admirers of her work for generations to come.”

The announcement Friday was chosen specifically to be on Juneteenth, June 19, as Simone was a civil rights activist prior to her death. Armbrust said Simone’s words and work carry even more weight in today’s social and political climate.

“Simone was a powerful voice for a segment of American society and culture who felt that the separation of individuals into hierarchical structures is inherently wrong and inherently damaging to the well-being of the culture in general,” Armbrust said. “The Nina Simone Project looks forward to the new individual and corporate partnerships and opportunities that will develop from the Nina Simone Archive initiative.”

The building, designed by Tryon architect Dean Trakas, will be a two-story building with a rooftop performance stage. There will be a gallery on the main floor and 2 residential spaces on the second floor for visiting artists.

Offices and archive storage will be available on 2 lower floors.

For more information about the NSP or to donate to the archive, visit