• Envisioning the Future of Nina Simone’s Childhood Home

    May 17, 2019

    The National Trust convened a two-day strategic visioning session in Nina’s hometown of Tryon, N.C. on May 15-16 for local artists, project partners, and preservation experts to craft a strategy for integrating arts and culture programming into all future plans for the home.

    Held at the Tryon Fine Arts Center, and steered by Janeen Bryant of Facilitate Movement, the group explored the life and legacy of Nina Simone as an artist, a woman, an African American and an activist and how her childhood home can be a place to engage with her extraordinary creative spirit and her humble beginnings.

    We are grateful to many local partners for enabling and enriching the visioning session, including the Nina Simone Project; the Tryon Fine Arts Center; the Town of Tryon; Janeen Bryant; jazz artist Nnenna Freelon; musician Daryle Rice; Tryon businesses, and project partners including the World Monuments Fund and Fund II Foundation.

    The visioning session builds upon the momentum generated by the recent HOPE Crew project at the house, which completed important stabilization work on the property, and by the online survey created by the Trust to for the local community to voice their ideas for the home’s future. More than 125 responses were recorded and show a strong degree of interest in the home and enthusiasm for adapting it as a museum or interpreted space and as an artist in residence facility.

    Next steps include finishing the stabilization work and the development of a business plan and a scope of work to guide the total rehabilitation and reuse of the property.

    Participants in visioning session for Nina Simone Childhood Home, Tyron, North Carolina, May 2019
  • HOPE Crew Project Begins at Nina Simone Childhood Home

    May 1, 2019

    On May 2, 2019, a new HOPE Crew (Hands-On Preservation Experience) project began at the Nina Simone Childhood Home, with support from the Fund II Foundation—the largest investment in the program’s history. Simone, whose distinctive voice, sultry blend of classical, blues, and gospel music, and penchant for activism have ensured her decades-long legacy still endures today, grew up in this modest, three-room clapboard home in Tryon, North Carolina.

    Years after Simone's death, when her childhood home had long been empty, it was in danger of demolition. In response to the threat, four African American artists sprang into action and bought the home for $95,000. The National Trust named the home a National Treasure in 2018 with the aim of working with the artists and other partners to preserve the home and ensure that it will endure for generations to come.

    The May 2019 HOPE Crew project is an important first step in preparing Simone's childhood home for extensive rehabilitation and reuse. According to artist and one of the home's current owners, Adam Pendleton, "We want it to become a space for cultivating a kind of present-tense thinking about history and cultural heritage that's oriented towards the future. This partnership with HOPE Crew is making that a reality."

    Seven HOPE Crew participants, provided by the Schenck Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center, will be at the home for several days, repairing and repainting its exterior. Paint for the project was generously provided by Benjamin Moore, a supporter of the National Trust.

    This project, among others throughout the United States, are intended to broaden HOPE Crew's scope to focus on engaging African American youth in learning preservation trades at sites tied to African American achievement and activism.

    The National Trust, in partnership with World Monuments Fund and with support from additional foundations, hired an architect to guide stabilization of the home and will convene a visioning session in May with partners, local stakeholders, artists, and musicians to begin identifying future use options that will inspire a new generation.

    Join Today to Help Save Places That Matter.

    Your support as a Member is critical to ensuring our success protecting America's heritage for future generations.

  • Plans Move Forward to Reimagine Nina Simone’s Childhood Home

    February 1, 2019

    The National Trust for Historic Preservation has completed a report describing the current condition of Nina Simone’s childhood home and has offered the owners two options for stabilizing and rehabilitating the home once a re-use plan is selected. The owners have chosen to move forward with repairs that will weather-proof the home, including repairing siding, windows, and the roof. Wherever possible, original materials will be preserved to respect the structure’s historical integrity. Work to stabilize the property will begin in the spring following the selection of a project architect.

    A preservation easement, a voluntary legal agreement wherein the owner agrees to permanently protect a property’s historic character, will also be placed on the home and will carry forward to all future owners.

    The National Trust will also organize a visioning workshop in Tryon this spring that will bring together the artist-owners, local artists, project partners, and preservation experts to craft a strategy for integrating arts and culture programming into all future plans for the home. The public will also be encouraged to weigh in. Following that convening, the National Trust will oversee the development of a business plan and a scope of work to guide the rehabilitation and reuse of the property.

    More information may be found in this January 31 press release.
  • Nina Simone’s Childhood Home Draws Foundation Support

    December 10, 2018

    Great news!

    The Hillsdale Fund and the Marion Stedman Covington Foundation, both of Greensboro, N.C. have made financial contributions to the National Treasure campaign to preserve and rehabilitate Nina Simone’s Childhood Home. We are so thankful for their generous support.

    Their involvement will enable the National Trust—in close consultation with the home’s owners and local, state and national partners--to move forward with preserving the property and charting a sustainable future for the home. This includes drafting a rehabilitation and reuse plan for the structure, identifying potential ownership entities and stewardship models, recommending preservation protections, and seeking National Register of Historic Places designation for the home.

    The National Trust will also convene a visioning workshop in Tryon to bring together the artist-owners, local artists, project partners, and National Trust staff to craft a strategy for integrating arts and culture programming into all future use opportunities.

    This work will be undertaken under the umbrella of the National Trust's African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, a multi-year initiative to uplift stories of African American achievement, activism, and community. To this end, the overarching goal of our Treasure campaign at Nina Simone’s Childhood Home is to ensure the home’s relevance to the cultural and educational vibrancy of the region, honor Simone's tremendous impact on American society, and inspire new generations of artists and activists to engage with her legacy.

6 - 9 of 9 updates

Join us in protecting and restoring places where significant African American history happened.

Learn More