1 October, 2019Print
Come Hear NC and National Trust for Historic Preservation Raise Over $60K for Preservation of Nina Simone’s Childhood Home
Raleigh, N.C. – The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the North Carolina Arts Council, the N.C. African American Heritage Commission and the National Trust for Historic Preservation are pleased to announce that more than $60,000 has been raised during the North Carolina Year of Music to benefit the rehabilitation and preservation of Nina Simone’s childhood home in Tryon, N.C.
The singer and civil rights activist known as “The High Priestess of Soul” was born in 1933 in Tryon, a small community east of Asheville. Her childhood home, which has been vacant for decades, was scheduled for demolition when four New York City-based artists purchased it in 2017.
In June 2018 the National Trust declared the home a National Treasure and, with support from World Monuments Fund and key state and local partners, is now working to rehabilitate and preserve the home and develop future uses for the site that honor Nina Simone’s legacy.
A crowdfunding campaign conducted this year by the National Trust raised just over $33,000 to help fund the home’s restoration.
“Nina Simone’s childhood home helps tell the incredible story of a young black girl who transcended the constraints placed on her in the Jim Crow south to become a voice of the Civil Rights Movement,” said Brent Leggs, Executive Director for the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Over the past few months, we have seen an incredible groundswell of support for this National Treasure, and we are appreciative of all the contributions that will help us to protect and activate this home for future generations and cement Nina Simone’s legacy into our American narrative.”
Proceeds totaling $29,000 from a special concert at the N.C. Museum of Art will also benefit the home’s preservation. The concert featured Nina Simone’s signature songs performed by her daughter Lisa Simone, accompanied by the locally based big-band ensemble, The Tribe Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Lenora Helm Hammonds.
“Nina Simone is an icon of American music, and a true North Carolina treasure,” said Susi H. Hamilton, secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “It has been an honor to partner with the National Trust to bring awareness not only to the plight of Nina Simone’s home in Tryon but to the outstanding work the Trust does every day to preserve our country’s culture and heritage.”
The concert was held during a special weekend in August that celebrated Nina Simone’s talent, legacy, and spirit, in collaboration with the North Carolina Museum of Art, Come Hear NC, the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, the North Carolina Arts Council and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
“The North Carolina Museum of Art was thrilled to host this important weekend to celebrate a treasured North Carolina artist,” said Museum Director Valerie Hillings. “In addition to our community partners, I can’t thank our presenting sponsor Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina enough for its generosity, which enabled us to raise money in support of Nina Simone’s childhood home.”
The weekend was part of the North Carolina Year of Music, Come Hear NC, which celebrates and amplifies North Carolina’s musical heritage.
About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.
NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please visit www.ncdcr.gov.
About the North Carolina Arts Council
The North Carolina Arts Council builds on our state’s long-standing love of the arts, leading the way to a more vibrant future. The Arts Council is an economic catalyst, fueling a thriving nonprofit creative sector that generates $2.12 billion in annual direct economic activity. The Arts Council also sustains diverse arts expression and traditions while investing in innovative approaches to art-making. The North Carolina Arts Council has proven to be a champion for youth by cultivating tomorrow’s creative citizens through arts education. NCArts.org
About the African American Heritage Commission
The North Carolina General Assembly created the African American Heritage Commission (AAHC) in 2008 to “assist the Secretary of Cultural Resources in the preservation, interpretation, and promotion of African American history, arts, and culture.” With this legislation the AAHC has identified African American heritage practitioners, such as curators, docents, and museum directors, as priority service populations. The AAHC was recognized as a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources in 2017, after being housed in the Office of Archives and History and the North Carolina Arts Council. The commission works across the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to achieve the mission of preserving, protecting, and promoting North Carolina’s African American history, art, and culture, for all people. For more information about the Commission, please visit https://aahc.nc.gov/.
About the National Trust for Historic Preservation
About the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund
The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund is a multi-year initiative led by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in partnership with the Ford Foundation, The JPB Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Open Society Foundations and other partners, working to make an important and lasting contribution to our cultural landscape by elevating the stories and places of African American achievement and activism. savingplaces.org/actionfund