Julie Mehretu

Julie Mehretu | Nina Simone

Julie Mehretu and other artists save Nina Simone’s childhood home

Last year, Nina Simone’s childhood home was put on the market. The legendary singer was born in a 660-square-foot house in Tryon, North Carolina, and was in danger of being torn down after the man who’d been attempting to preserve it encountered financial trouble. However, thanks to four prominent artists including Highpoint Editions artist Julie Mehretu, the birthplace of the musical legend will continue to stand.

Adam Pendleton, Rashid Johnson, Ellen Gallagher, and Julie Mehretu quietly pooled their money to purchase the home for $95,000, in the interest of keeping a key artifact in the histories of American music and civil rights alive. Mr. Pendleton said, “We don’t have a blueprint for our ideas yet, but I think sometimes artists are the best people to deal with really tricky questions — like, for instance, how to honor the legacy of someone as vital and complicated as Nina Simone,”

Read the full New York Times article here…



Mehretu was born in Ethiopia and raised in the United States. She is an MFA graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, and has studied at the Core Artists in Residence Program in Houston, Texas. She was a 2002–2003 artist-in-residence at the Walker Art Center, where she worked with East African high schoolers on a multimedia project, and had a summer 2003 exhibition of nine commissioned paintings in Gallery 7. Mehretu’s work was also part of the 2001 Walker exhibit Painting at the Edge of the World. More recently, her paintings and drawings been shown in London, Korea, and Lithuania, and have been included in several exhibitions in her current hometown of New York City (including Drawing Now: Eight Propositions at the Museum on Modern Art in Queens, (2002).