Venus Williams steps in to help preserve Nina Simone’s childhood home

Venus Williams at 2022 Met Gala

Venus Williams has joined forces with acclaimed artist Adam Pendleton to raise funds for the preservation of the childhood home of Blues icon Nina Simone.

There will be an in-person auction event at Pace Gallery New York on 20 May 2023.

That auction will be supported by an additional online sale conducted by world-renowned auctioneers.

The events will raise funds for the largest-ever preservation effort dedicated to African American historic sites.

Part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund lead The Nina Simone Childhood Home preservation project.

Of the project, Pendleton declared: “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 and fellow artists Ellen Gallagher, Rashid Johnson, and Julie Mehretu jointly purchased the home in 2017 with the intention of restoring and preserving the site in honour of the trailblazing musician and civil rights activist.

The full exhibition will be on display at Pace’s New York gallery from 12 May until the day of the auction itself, 20 May 2023.

The collection includes works by Stanley Whitney, Mary Weatherford, Robert Longo and Cecily Brown.

Williams thanked the artists for their willingness to give not only artworks but a piece of themselves to preserve a historically and culturally significant location.

The seven-time Grand Slam winner was moved by the generosity of all of those involved with the project.

Venus 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.

“It’s been a privilege to collaborate with Adam in curating the auction.”

The focal point of the project is the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.

Brent Leggs, executive director of the fund and senior vice president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation is delighted that artists have come out in force to lend their support.

Leggs said: “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 memorialise the places where Black history happened.”

Online bidding in the auction opens to the public at 11:00 EDT beginning 12 May and closes on 22 May at 15:00 EDT.

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