YAKU Looks to Restore an Old Church in Peoria, so that it Can Give Back to the Community Again

Peoria - A local non-profit is taking steps to restore an old church in the hopes of benefiting the community.

 

Earl and his wife Natalia started YAKU, a local non-profit that is looking to bring the world to Peoria, in the form of art.

 

Brent baker said, "We wanna connect Peoria to the world, the thing we have here in Peoria is people and is the community, and that's our biggest asset, so being able to show the world what we have here and have the world fall in love with Peoria is what we're trying to do, and if we can do it through this building. That would be pretty incredible."

 

They bought the old Hale Memorial Church with big dreams in mind. "There's no other building like this in the world, like when you think about it that way and when it's gone it's gone," said baker.

 

Earl Power-Murphy said, "It was a bit done on a whim. The building itself, it just had a presence and there was a calling to it."

 

Ajax Giwa said, "Their vision is really strong I feel, and I think a lot of people really know that, and that's why they want to be a part of it as well. And what they're trying to do for Peoria could really be kind of like a game changer."

 

Their goal is to restore the church, making it into an international art gallery.

 

"In the beginning it was always just to be a space for gathering and celebration, but the more we kind of dove into the project and the more the building asked of us, the ore dynamic the project became, and it's still growing to this day," said Power-Murphy.

 

No matter what they make the building into, they want to leave a lasting impact on the community.

 

Kristine Chisamore said, "YAKU means water, so this idea that you know it's not a flood, it's not a tide, it’s not something that's going to rush in and then go away. That to me is what YAKU represents. YAKU can be that place that people keep coming back to and that will hopefully help inspire the community and then people of Peoria will help inspire us as well."


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