Our Team

We are a growing group of people brought together by a common desire to respond to the tragedy of June 12, 2016 with the power of love, inclusion and unity. Watch as we expand with exciting alliances, passionate volunteers, wise advisors and a committed core ensemble. 

Michael Pilato   Co-Founder and Director  Lead Artist

Michael Pilato
Co-Founder and Director
Lead Artist

Michael Pilato

Famed mural artist Michael Pilato, a native of State College, PA, is one of the premier mural artists globally and is recognized for his exceptional mural and portrait mural work, as well as for his philanthropic efforts.

As a true master of the mural arts, Michael has both public and private pieces worldwide. From the internationally acclaimed World Mural project to the touching tribute murals for 9/11 NY firefighters and creating the world’s first 3D mural to commissions from foreign countries, Michael Pilato is a recognized leader in the mural arts. Pilato is deeply involved with his local community and locates some of his most recognized work near his hometown.

Notable murals in his area include his “Inspiration” mural (State College, PA) and his “Inspiration: Lycoming County” mural (Williamsport, PA), both being destination pieces for visitors to the area. Other popular public Michael Pilato murals primarily dot the major East Coast cities like Washington DC and New York City, while some of his more of his recent murals have been found around the world as part of the World Mural project.


Yuriy Karabash   Lead Artist

Yuriy Karabash
Lead Artist

Yuriy Karabash

Moldovan born painter, Yuriy Karabash, works tirelessly behind the scenes to bring the World Mural to life. Having grown up in a family of artists, Yuriy was always immersed in the art world, receiving influence from his father and an extended circle of artistic friends and colleagues. He attended the Sciusev Art School in Chișinău, Moldova from 1970-1974 and later studied at the Art and Design School, also in Chișinău. Following his formal schooling, Yuriy spent several years studying and painting alongside exceptional professional artists fine-tuning and developing his skills. In 1993, Yuriy came to the United States by way of a United Methodist Church sponsorship and received American citizenship in 1999. Yuriy met Michael Pilato in 1995 and they quickly became friends and business partners. The duo has since used their combined decades of experience to create stunning mural art gracing public plazas throughout the world.

While Yuriy's initial work was classical in nature, it soon evolved into a unique abstract style integrating his growing metaphysical beliefs. He explains the creation of art as the transformation of one thing into something else. "There is an archive filled with memories and perceptions in my mind, and that’s where these images come from before they change shape through interpretation, thought and vision." Yuriy gains his inspiration from storytelling and interaction with those around him and the world at large.

Yuriy has a strong belief that energy exists and interconnects within all things. It is this symbiotic relationship that influences every aspect of his art and continues to fuel his never ending passion to create. While Yuriy and Michael Pilato have very different personality styles, the two inspire and complement each other and blend together perfectly on the canvas.


Chimene Hurst   Co-Founder and Assistant Director Curriculum Development

Chimene Hurst
Co-Founder and Assistant Director
Curriculum Development

Chimene Hurst

Chimene Hurst, a native of Philadelphia, PA, has studied child psychology, parent education and led various workshops, support groups and seminars for adults and children of all ages for over 25 years. Her style, skills and curriculum developed from her personal research work in New York City during the early 90's, since enhanced through hands-on experience with parents and children.

In 1994, Chimene founded Parenting Works, Inc., an organization providing parenting workshops, classes and consultation services in Orlando and New York. She is a certified Parent Educator, Active Parenting Leader and member of the American Counseling Association. Chimene was also a key facilitator in the development of the highly acclaimed "Social Bridges" program implemented in Elementary, Middle and High Schools on a national level. Chimene's writings and articles have been published in a variety of sources, such as Playground Magazine where she was a contributing editor and writer from 2008 through 2011.

Chimene holds a BA in Psychology from Hunter College and combines her passion for parent education with child psychology as a Guidance Counselor and Character Education Instructor at The Parke House Academy, a private elementary school in Orlando, Florida. She also founded and ran the very successful Misty Forest Academy after school program from 2006-2016.

In June 2016, Chimene spearheaded the beginnings of a children's community remembrance project that quickly grew to be the current "Inspiration Orlando" endeavor. She believes that our perception of events is influenced by the thoughts we choose, and that resilience, empathy and positive response to tragedy occurs when a strong sense of self-acceptance exists within. Chimene is passionate about helping children develop this understanding of their true essence and core, independent of others' perceptions and thoughts about them. She truly believes this can be taught to all ages.



Public Art Academy

Supporting Organization

In all of its initiatives, the PAA strives to engage a community’s participation in its own artistic life. It encourages citizens to explore, through artistic expression, their connections to the wider world. PAA artists welcome observers during all stages of their work, and believe that public art making is a shared experience that can bring healing after tragedy, inspire, and draw people together.