Artists Michael Pilato and Yuriy Karabash
As the University of Central Florida prepares to honor and remember the 49 lives taken at Pulse, a tribute to two of the victims is being installed on the heart of UCF’s campus.
A mural designed by artists Michael Pilato and Yuriy Karabash features UCF student Juan Ramon Guerrero and two-time alumnus Christopher Andrew “Drew” Leinonen, whose lives were devastatingly cut short nearly one year ago. The mural features their likenesses and was created with collaboration from their families.
Over the next few days, the art is being added to the exterior of UCF’s Student Union, the very center of the campus, to honor them and to serve as a tribute to the spirit of love and hope that united UCF and the community in the aftermath of Pulse.
Tomorrow, UCF invites the community to campus for a day of reflection, giving back and coming together.
A video about the making of the mural will be introduced by state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith — a UCF alumnus who played an instrumental role in its creation — during the “UCF Remembers” ceremony that starts in the Pegasus Ballroom of the Student Union at 7:30 p.m.
Following the program, attendees will be invited to move outside and take in the mural in a collective moment of unity.
Other events on campus Thursday include:
“Reflections on Pulse” will be an opportunity to create art and share tributes to the 49 victims. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Student Union Atrium.
The UCF Remembers Blood Drive will be held from 2 to 8 p.m. near the Student Union between Classroom 1 and Health and Public Affairs. Free parking will be available in garages H and I, and registration is available at https://admfin.ucf.edu/blooddrives/special-event/.
The opening reception for “Resilience: Remembering Pulse” will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. in the UCF Art Gallery. The exhibition includes photos, quilts, paintings, and more that honor the victims and the LGBTQ+ community. Pulse owner Barbara Poma will provide opening remarks.
All events are free and open to the public. Select events will be live-streamed at https://www.facebook.com/UCF/.
In addition, Millican Hall will be lit in Pride colors during the evening from June 8 through 12.
Additional information is available at https://www.ucf.edu/orlandounited/.
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