It’s necessary work!
In 2018, The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Nina Simone’s childhood home a historically significant site and announced its plans for preservation. Artists Julie Mehretu, Rashid Johnson, Ellen Gallagher, and Adam Pendleton all partnered in 2017 to jointly purchase Simone’s home, saving it from demolition and leading them to eventually request support from the National Trust and other community members and organizations. Now tennis icon Venus Williams is joining the efforts, helping Pendleton, the National Trust, and the African American Cultural Heritage Action Funds raise the money for the Nina Simone Childhood Home preservation project, Tennis 365 reports.
“Nina Simone is one of the most important musical artists of the 20th century. I’m inspired to be able to protect her legacy by preserving her childhood home. Her music, her vision, cannot be forgotten,” Pendleton told reporters.
To kick off the fundraising, an in-person auction is being held at Pace Gallery in New York in what is being called the “largest-ever preservation effort dedicated to African American historic sites.” An exhibition of all the items to be auctioned will be on display at Pace’s Gallery from May 12th until the auction day on May 20th of this year. Auctioned pieces include artwork by renowned artists Stanley Whitney, Mary Weatherford, Robert Longo, and Cecily Brown. An additional online sale will accompany the in-person event, Williams thanking each of the artists for their contributions to the auction.
“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,” said Williams.
Brent Leggs, senior vice president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and executive director of the Heritage Action Fund said he is confident the auction will be a success and is very proud of what this partnership means for Simone’s incredible legacy.
“Our partnership with the artists, Venus Williams, and Pace Gallery is a powerful demonstration of how art and preservation practice can join forces to permanently preserve Simone’s remarkable legacy. Together, we will secure the home’s future and inspire a new generation of diverse leaders who will memorialize the places where Black history happened,” said Leggs.
Online bidding for the auction opens up to the public on May 12th at 11am EST and closes on May 22nd at 3pm EST. For more information on the preservation project, click here.
Venus Williams has joined the efforts to preserve Nina Simone’s childhood home/Matt Baron/Shutterstock/JazzSign/Lebrecht Music & Arts/Corbis