After four decades of producing award winning music and architecture, Nnenna and Phil have directed their artistic energy toward Durham’s growing economic engine with the goal of providing an arts and cultural space that is openly accessible to all Durhamites. As gentrification threatens to displace and marginalize our community, the Northstar Church of the Arts will provide a welcoming, safe and vibrant environment for sharing art in all its form – right in the heart of the city.


Artistic Director: Pierce Freelon

Durham native, and former Mayoral candidate Pierce Freelon has created several institutions of social justice and arts-activism, including Blackspace, a digital makerspace in partnership with American Underground, Beat Making Lab, an Emmy-Award winning community music program sponsored by Apple Inc.; and Poetic Justice, a hip hop and spoken word after-school program that has served Durham Public Schools and the Durham Crime Prevention Council.


Executive director: Heather Cook

Heather Cook is a former public school teacher turned community alchemist. Since moving to Durham over a decade ago, Heather has been deeply immersed in the creative community as an events producer, a creative consultant and a project manager. She is a cultivator of energies, bringing people together in the name of art and collaboration.



Advisory board

North Star is grateful to be advised by a diverse group of artists, faith leaders, academics, community organizers, earth mammas, astrologists and entrepreneurs. Bios on these beautiful humans coming soon.