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International tennis legend Venus Williams has stepped in to help preserve the childhood home of another Black icon, famous Blues singer and civil rights activist, Nina Simone.
Williams teamed up with artist Adam Pendleton for an in-person auction event at Pace Gallery New York on May 20, that will be supported by world-renowned auctioneers online. The event marks the largest preservation effort dedicated to an African-American historic site, Yahoo reported. Nina Simone grew up in Tryon, North Carolina.
“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,” Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam winner, said.
As one of the greatest artists of her time, Nina Simone left a legacy spanning four decades by the time she passed away on April 21, 2003, according to a biography. Beginning with her 1959 classic hit, “I loves You Porgy,” to her 1979 Black empowerment song “Young, Gifted and Black,” Simone captured generations of people who were inspired to love their Black skin.
Nina Simone childhood home preserved for future generations
The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, lead the Nina Simone Childhood Home preservation project.
“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,” Adam Pendleton said.
Pendleton and other artists purchased the Nina Simone childhood home in 2017 to restore and preserve it. The full exhibition will remain on display from May 12 through May 20.
Brent Leggs is executive director of the fund and senior vice president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
“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,” Leggs said.
Online bidding in the auction for Nina Simone opens to the public at 11:00 a.m. ET on May 12 until 3 p.m. ET on May 22.