On a day of reflection, the Orlando Museum of Art hosted a poignant commemoration to honor the 49 beautiful lives lost and 53+ injured on June 12, 2016, in a tragic shooting at the Pulse Nightclub. An act of extreme violence tore asunder the festive, inclusive spirit that defined the Pulse Nightclub that night, targeting Orlando’s vibrant LGBTQ+ community. While tragic, the events of that night also catalyzed an extraordinary response from the community. Under the leadership of Michael Pilato, Yuriy Karabash, and Chimene Hurst, a team of compassionate individuals crafted “Inspiration Orlando United,” a mural that embodies the spirit of unity and resilience that the city of Orlando displayed in the wake of the tragedy.
“I want to thank the survivors and the families. God bless you,” Pilato said. “You will always be in our hearts, and I hope this mural will be a platform for you to speak out and find the help you need, so thank you very much, Orlando.”
The museum’s event, accessible to all attendees, served as the unveiling of this beautiful tribute, narrating the stories of the community members most impacted by the events at Pulse Nightclub. The echoes of their voices added depth and context to the mural’s silent narration, bringing to life the memories of those lost in the horrific event.
From Tuesday, June 13, through Friday, June 16, the “Inspiration Orlando United” mural will be on view in the museum’s rotunda. The public is welcome to visit during regular museum hours, allowing those who could not attend the commemoration to experience the transformative power of this public art.
The Orlando Museum of Art stands as a vessel for this shared history, and the “Inspiration Orlando United” mural represents a physical testament to the transformative power of love and hope in the face of unimaginable loss. As we remember the Pulse Nightclub tragedy, let us not forget the powerful bonds of community and unity that this mural commemorates. Love wins always.