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Weekend Events Around Town: 5/17 - 5/19

Close encounters with stingrays, graffiti-turned-fine art, and Yo-Yo Ma in a special event at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; Chicago Tonight knows what's going on this weekend.

The works of two L.A.-based artists, inspired by the city’s Chicano movement of the 1960s, are on display now at the National Museum of Mexican Art. Graffiti artist Chaz Bojórquez, considered one of the founders of the modern street art movement, has elevated the gritty street-language used by West Coast gangsters for decades to the level of fine art. His peer, John Valadez, is known for his eerie dreamscapes and striking depictions of life in Southern California, brought to life through vivid pastel colors. The exhibit, “Chaz Bojórquez, From the Street to the Cloud,” is on display through June 30, while John Valadez’s “Santa Ana Condition” is open to the public through August 11. Even more reason to go check out this incredible art work, admission to the museum is free. To learn more about the exhibits and artists, click here. Watch Chicago Tonight’s story on the two exhibits and read an interview with Bojórquez.
National Museum of Mexican Art
1852 W. 19th St.
Chicago, IL 60608
Aiming to challenge prejudice and shatter society’s misconceptions through artistic expression, it’s one of Chicago’s most vibrant important art festivals is in town. The Bodies of Work Festival is an 11-day celebration of the contributions of artists with disabilities – on screen, on stage, and in the realm of fine arts. The festival takes place in galleries and theaters around the city, and features original theater, dance, literature, poetry, film, visual art, and sound performance. The festival began on Wednesday and runs through May 25. Many of the performances and galleries are free of admission, but to view a full festival schedule and to learn more about the exhibitions, click here. Also, check out Chicago Tonight’s story on Bodies of Work, and read a web-exclusive interview with festival director Carrie Sandahl. 
Life in every corner of the world depends on freshwater, often in the form of rivers. They are the lifeblood of many of the world’s greatest cities – including Chicago. To celebrate all that rivers have given us and to discuss how we can preserve them for future generations, the CSO will host a special RIVERS symposium Saturday, part of a month-long slate of concerts and events celebrating rivers and the special role that they play in sustaining civilization. Among many other musicians and scientists, Yo-Yo Ma will be a panelist and performer during Saturday's program, which includes several discussions interspersed with performances that trace the physical, economic, and cultural impacts that rivers have on us all. Saturday’s event begins at 10:00 am and admission is only $5. To learn more about Saturday’s symposium and other RIVERS events, and to purchase advance tickets, click here. Watch Chicago Tonight’s conversation with Yo-Yo Ma, who performed on our show and discussed his passion for conservation. 
Symphony Center
220 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60604
Observing stingrays on the other side of a thick, glass tank is plenty close, and certainly much preferred to having one glide by while you’re wading in the surf. But for the brave souls among us who yearn for a more hands-on experience with these graceful creatures, well…you’re in luck. The Shedd Aquarium’s new Stingray Touch exhibit opens today, giving spectators an up-close and personal view of approximately 40 cownose and yellow rays housed in a newly constructed 80-foot by 22-foot habitat. And as the name suggests, adventurous guests will have the chance to touch the wings of these sleek, diamond-shaped animals. Tickets to Stingray Touch can be purchased as an add-on to a normal Shedd admission for $5 per person, or $3 for members. Regular admission to the museum is $28.95 for adults and $19.95 for children ages 3-11. For more information on the exhibit and to view museum hours, click here
John G. Shedd Aquarium 
1200 S. Lake Shore Drive 
Chicago, IL 60605
If you’ve gotten a late start on your spring gardening and are getting shown up by that over-achieving neighbor of yours and his stunning tulips, plan to head to the Hyde Park Garden Fair Friday or Saturday. The fair is one of the city's largest gardening festivals and features thousands of different species of plants for sale: from annuals, perennials and hanging plants, to shrubs, vines, vegetables, herbs and much more. Garden Fair committee members will also be on site to offer advice on planting, cultivation and upkeep. Plenty of free parking is available in the surrounding neighborhood and admission to the festival is free. Festival shopping hours are from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm on Friday and 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday. To learn more about the event and the kinds of plants that will be for sale, click here.