Venus Williams raising money to save Nina Simone’s childhood home

The effort is in collaboration with the National Trust's African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.

Tennis superstar Venus Williams has embarked on a mission to preserve the childhood home of late singer Nina Simone, the New York Post reports. 

Williams has teamed with conceptual artist Adam Pendleton to co-host a gala and fundraiser to support the refurbishment of the North Carolina property. The effort is in collaboration with the National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund

“Through this project, the Action Fund aims to restore the birthplace of musical icon and civil rights activist Nina Simone in Tryon, North Carolina,” according to a press release on the National Trust for Historic Preservation website.  

Nina Simone’s childhood home in Tryon, North Carolina is a clapboard, three-room structure. (Photo by Nancy Pierce/National Trust for Historic Preservation)

Simone’s cultural legacy is “of great personal significance to all the artists donating work,” the organization noted.

Sotheby’s will hold an online auction featuring works that internationally renowned contemporary artists donated. Proceeds from the sale will support the Nina Simone Childhood Home preservation project. Many of the participating artists are expected to attend the in-person gala on May 20 at Pace’s New York flagship location, according to the press release. 

“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,” said Williams in the the press release. 

Brent Leggs, executive director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund and senior vice president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, said, “Nina Simone’s childhood home provides a lens into the contours of her life growing up in the Jim Crow South.”

Leggs also noted that “we will secure the home’s future and inspire a new generation of diverse leaders who will memorialize the places where Black history happened.”

Simone, who passed away at age 70 in 2003, spent her childhood in the three-room clapboard house. In 2017, a group of artists purchased the property to preserve the space and safeguard its legacy, The Post reports.

A portrait of a young Nina Simone. Venus Williams and others are raising funds to preserve the childhood home of the late singer and civil rights activist. (Photo courtesy The Nina Simone Project)

It has not yet been decided if the home will be renovated to include an artist residency.

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