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



Dinner by Chef JJ Johnson
Performance by H.E.R.

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 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 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

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
(opens in a new window) Click here for information on how to bid

Exhibition Details

Nina Simone Childhood Home Auction Exhibition
May 12 – 20, 2023

Pace Gallery
508 West 25th Street
New York

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. During the gala, the Grammy- and Oscar-winning musician Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson, known professionally as H.E.R., will give a live performance featuring one of Simone’s songs. Also joining us in this major initiative is the James Beard award-winning chef JJ Johnson, whose four-course menu for the event will bring Caribbean flare to Southern cuisine.

Benefit Auction

Leading up to and following the gala, an online auction conducted by Sotheby’s will feature marquee artworks by leading contemporary artists in honor and recognition of Simone’s monumental contributions to the arts and social activism. All the artworks in the auction will be available to view in person—in addition to online—in the Nina Simone Childhood Home Auction Exhibition at our West 25th Street gallery from May 12 – 20.

The full list of artists included in the exhibition follows below:
Cecily Brown
Ellen Gallagher
Rashid Johnson
Robert Longo
Julie Mehretu
Adam Pendleton
Martin Puryear
Sarah Sze
Mary Weatherford
Stanley Whitney
Anicka Yi


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

In our new film, tennis champion, entrepreneur, and arts patron Venus Williams; artist Adam Pendleton; and Brent Leggs, Executive Director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, share how the legacy of musical icon and civil rights activist Nina Simone has inspired them.

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

Adam Pendleton


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.

Donate Today

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

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