Venus Williams Co-Curates Art Auction to Preserve Nina Simone’s Childhood Home

After four Black artists worked together to save Nina Simone’s childhood home, an auction has been organized to further preserve the national treasure.

The Nina Simone Childhood Home Benefit Auction will take place from May 12 – May 22, and will feature 11 contemporary artworks with proceeds going to the Nina Simone Childhood Home preservation project, via The Hollywood Reporter.

The auction is co-curated by artist Adam Pendleton and tennis champion and entrepreneur Venus Williams. Pendleton is among the four Black artists who joined forces in 2017 to purchase Simone’s childhood home in Tryon, North Carolina for $95,000 in an effort to save it from demolition.

After successfully saving the home, it went on to be declared a national treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation which spearheaded the auction through its African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund program alongside the Pace Gallery.

Williams, an arts patron, expressed her excitement about co-curating the auction.

“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,” Williams said.

“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.”

Artists participating in the auction include Cecily Brown, Gallagher, Johnson, Robert Longo, Mehretu, Pendleton, Martin Puryear, Sarah Sze, Mary Weatherford, Stanley Whitney, and Anicka Yi. Sotheby’s will host online bidding for the auction from May 12-22, while the artworks are on display at Pace’s New York gallery from May 12–20.

“We’re thrilled to be collaborating with this group of incredibly talented, influential artists to spotlight the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund’s Nina Simone Childhood Home preservation project,” Marc Glimcher, CEO of Pace Gallery, said.

“The Action Fund does such crucial work in preserving sites of Black history, and we’re excited to have Brent, a leading architectural historian and preservationist, as a partner in this important initiative.”

A gala will also take place at the Pace Gallery on May 20 and will include a live performance from Oscar and Grammy-award-winning musician H.E.R. who will be singing one of Simone’s original songs. James Beard Award-winning chef JJ Johnson will curate the ticketed dinner which will include a four-course menu of traditional Southern ingredients with French techniques.

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