Curated & Presented by

Adam Pendleton
Venus Williams
Ellen Gallagher
Rashid Johnson
Julie Mehretu

Co-Hosted by

African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund
National Trust for Historic Preservation
Pace Gallery

Auction by


Benefit Gala & Online Auction for Nina Simone's Childhood Home

A multifaceted benefit supporting the National Trust for Historic Preservation's African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund’s Nina Simone Childhood Home work to restore Nina Simone's home will encompass an online auction—conducted by Sotheby’s and co-curated by the artist Adam Pendleton and the tennis champion, entrepreneur, and arts patron Venus Williams—a gala dinner at our New York flagship on May 20, and an in-person exhibition of all works in the online sale from May 12­–­20.

Simone’s childhood home—a clapboard, 650-square-foot, three-room structure located in Tryon, North Carolina—was jointly purchased by Pendleton and fellow artists Ellen Gallagher, Rashid Johnson, and Julie Mehretu in 2017. The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is working with these four artists to fully rehabilitate and activate the house, protecting and celebrating the musician’s legacy in perpetuity.

This landmark gala and auction highlight the vital work of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. Established by the National Trust in 2017, the Action Fund is helmed by Executive Director Brent Leggs, who also serves as Senior Vice President of the National Trust. The Action Fund's mission is to make a lasting impact on American history by preserving sites of African American activism, achievement, and resilience. It is the largest ever preservation effort dedicated to African American historic sites.

This momentous fundraiser convenes leaders across the worlds of art, philanthropy, and historic preservation to safeguard the childhood home of Nina Simone, whose cultural legacy is of great personal significance to all the artists involved in the gala and auction.


Gala Details

Saturday, May 20, 2023
6 – 10 PM

Pace Gallery
540 West 25th Street
New York

How to Attend

To inquire about purchasing tickets, please contact ninasimone@pacegallery.com

Auction Details

Opens: 11 AM, Friday May 12, 2023
Closes: 3 PM, Monday, May 22, 2023

About the Program

Gala Dinner

On May 20, a gala event benefiting the restoration effort will be held at our 540 West 25th Street gallery. In support of this watershed initiative, many of the participating artists will attend the in-person event. Register for updates using the email form on this page.

Benefit Auction

Leading up to and following the gala, an online auction conducted by Sotheby’s will feature marquee artworks by Pendleton, Gallagher, Johnson, Mehretu, Cecily Brown, Robert Longo, Mary Weatherford, Stanley Whitney, and other leading contemporary artists in honor and recognition of Simone’s monumental contributions to the arts and social activism. We will have an in-person exhibition of all works in the online sale at our West 25th Street gallery from May 12­–­20.

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.

Venus Williams


A physical structure like a house can be a symbolic way to honor somebody.

Adam Pendleton

In our new film, artist Adam Pendleton and Brent Leggs, Executive Director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, discuss the restoration project and Simone’s monumental legacy as an artist and activist.

Born Eunice Waymon in Tryon in 1933, Simone nurtured an early love of music in her childhood home. The National Trust designated Simone’s childhood home as a national treasure in 2018. The Action Fund is developing a rehabilitation plan that aligns with the home’s potential future use; identifies future ownership and stewardship models for the site; and creates additional protections to ensure that this symbol of Simone’s early life and legacy will endure for generations to come. Since fundraising for the Nina Simone house project began, the Action Fund has raised nearly $500,000. Through the upcoming auction, the organization aims to raise $5 million for the site’s ongoing preservation.

Donate Today

To make an individual donation to the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund’s Nina Simone Childhood Home preservation project, visit savingplaces.org/supportnina.

  • News — Nina Simone Childhood Home, Mar 13, 2023