Benefit gala to support Nina Simone Childhood Home preservation project

Published 11:37 am Wednesday, March 22, 2023

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Online auction to sell art co-curated by tennis star Venus Williams


TRYON–A benefit gala and art auction are being held at New York City’s Pace Gallery to raise money for the Nina Simone Childhood Home preservation project. The project aims to restore Simone’s birthplace on Tryon’s Livingston Street, which was jointly purchased by artists Adam Pendleton, Ellen Gallagher, Rashid Johnson, and Julie Mehretu in 2017.

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“Nina Simone is one of the most important musical artists of the twentieth century,” says Pendleton. “I’m inspired to be able to protect her legacy by preserving her childhood home. Her music, her vision, cannot be forgotten.”


The auction will be conducted online by Sotheby’s May 12-22 and the gala will be held on May 20. The artworks on sale are being co-curated by Pendleton and tennis star and arts patron Venus Williams. They will include works by Pendleton, Gallagher, Johnson, and Mehretu and other leading contemporary artists.


“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,” says Williams. “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.”


In addition to rehabilitating the home, the preservation project includes a visitor’s center, parking and other facilities. The project is being spearheaded by the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, which is a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 


The National Trust designated Simone’s birthplace as a national treasure in 2018 and has been working with its new owners on the restoration plan which the National Trust expects to be completed by this fall. 


To learn more and register for updates about the auction and gala go to