Save a piece of Peoria history.


What am I saving?

Hale Memorial Church, located at the intersection of Main and High Streets, is a more than 115-year old landmark that served not only as a church, but as an open place where members of the community could congregate and celebrate. After over five years of raising funds to make minor repairs, we are asking for your support to keep this locally-designated, historic structure from coming down.


Why is this important?

Much like the public efforts taking place to save and rehabilitate structures within the Warehouse District, we believe Hale Memorial Church is another significant building worth preserving. We believe this facility has the potential to be a catalyst for economic development along Main street, transforming this thoroughfare into what it should be—the heart and soul of Peoria.

What is your plan for Hale Memorial Church?

Our ultimate goal is to repurpose this historic structure into an international cultural center that will anchor Main Street now and for future generations. We have already welcomed a deep roster of emerging artists from around the world interested in presenting their work here in Peoria at Hale Memorial Church. With your support, we can not only make this dream happen—we can create a space where a variety of cultures can intersect, create art, celebrate music, make friends and come together as one community. 

Who are you?

Formed in 2014, Yaku is a collective of young professionals who are passionate about repurposing Hale Memorial Church as an international cultural arts center. As Yaku—a Quechua word meaning water—we want to partner with our community to cultivate the seed that is this building. 

In addition to efforts to rehabilitate the building, we are actively building the arts programming side of the organization—staging pop-up art shows named “SNAX” (Small Nomadic Art eXperiences) first in unoccupied commercial spaces on West Main Street, and now as an ongoing series staged in shipping containers placed at the corner of West Main and North Ellis Streets. 

One of our latest efforts was the launch of UKAYZINE, a magazine sold locally and also distributed internationally to Congo, Paris and Peru. Yaku has also opened an office in Paris (2017), under the direction of Muriel Babandisha, and is already actively staging Yaku programming as well as continuing the development of our young magazine.


“We owe those Peorians before us who built this. Paying on that debt means preserving it for Peorians after us.”

– Unknown
(Overheard at SNAX02)