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April 2016 events calendar for Chicago

Plan your April in Chicago with our events calendar of the best things to do, including concerts, theater openings and art exhibits

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Lincoln Park

So long as it's not one of those Aprils cursed by snowstorms, it's finally safe to crawl out of hibernation and start scouring new Chicago shops for lighter clothes, and maybe even pay a visit to a few Chicago beaches on one of the nicer days. Celebrate the arrival of spring with a trip to the patio at your favorite cocktail bar, start hashing out your warm weather plans and figure out a few things to do on a rainy day—you know what they say about April showers, don't you?

RECOMMENDED: Events calendar for Chicago in 2016

Featured events in April 2016

Baconfest

Bacon lovers rejoice! Baconfest is coming back to Chicago with more bacon than ever. Current attendees include Black Dog Gelato, The Duck Inn, Xoco Wicker Park, Celeste, Stan's Donuts and more. Each participating restaurant and brewery is offering a bacon dish or drink, so loosen your belt and you'll be in bacon heaven.

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Until Mon May 2

Shamrock Shuffle

Recommended

Shake off winter with this 8K through Grant Park. Each participant receives a T-shirt, a medal and access to the post-race party, featuring live music and refreshments.

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Until Sun Apr 3

Chicago Latino Film Festival

Recommended

In its 32nd year, the venerable Latino Film Fest offers a wide selection of features, documentaries and shorts from throughout the Spanish-speaking world. For a full schedule of screenings, check out the festival's website.

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Until Thu Apr 21

Antiques, Garden & Design Show

Break out of your winter-inspired funk with a jolt of spring. A blue-and-white motif centers this year's Antiques, Garden & Design Show, which includes a lecture series about gardening from experts in the field, as well as beautiful display gardens and objects. A preview event the Thursday prior provides priority shopping and complimentary valet parking for attendees.

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Until Sun Apr 17

International Quilt Festival

Hundreds of vendors selling hundreds of quilts, fabrics, supplies, gifts and anything else related to quilting can be found at the International Quilt Festival. The fest sets down for a three-day run that also includes mixed-media classes and an open studio where four artists will be working on individual projects simulanteously for observation.

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Until Sat Apr 9

Bach Week Festival

It's Bach! The classical music festival enters another season with a series of concerts showcasing the compositions of the Baroque composer, as played by the Bach Week Festival Chamber Orchestra (a classical music supergroup comprised of players from the city's best orchestras) and the Bach Week Festival Chorus. A Friday night candlelight concert includes gourmet chocolates and a glass of champagne.

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Until Fri May 6

Champion of Trees 10K Run

Make like the Lorax and speak for the trees by running during this sixth annual 10K run, a key part of the Morton Arboretum's Arbor Day celebration. The course follows the east side of the arboretum's main route through USATF-certified terrain. The run also includes a complimentary post-race beer, food and a free T-shirt. Registration is required.

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Until Sun Apr 24

Vintage Garage

Shop from up to 100 vintage vendors selling everything from furniture to clothes to vinyl in an Uptown parking garage on the third Sunday of each month from April to October. Dont' miss your last chance to load up on everything retro this year.

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Vintage Garage Chicago Flea Market , Uptown Sunday September 18 2016 - Sunday October 16 2016

U-505: In-depth Experience

The only German submarine captured by the U.S. Navy during the second World War is on display in a special before-hours exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. Walk around the decomissioned sub wiht U.S veterans, who will be on-hand to answer any questions about the U-505. Coffee and tea will be served before the tour.

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22 May 2016

Greek Independence Day Parade

A vacay in Athens would be awesome, but Greektown is more budget-friendly. On Halsted Street, celebrate the 193rd Independence Day and the Feast of the Annunciation.

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Until Sun Apr 17

Music Under Glass

The Garfield Park Conservatory's classical music concert series continues with a performance from pianist Gleb Ivanov, who will play works by Brahms, Debussy and Rachmaninoff in a two-hour program.

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Until Sun Apr 24

Randolph Street Market Festival

Recommended

More than 200 vendors hawk their antique housewares, furniture, ephemera, clothing and more at this indoor-outdoor festival. Stop in for vintage clothes and jewelry, a vinyl swap meet, a fancy food market and global goods bazaar or bring your own items for appraisal. This event typically occurs on the last weekend of each month. During the warm-weather months of May–September, the market adds an outdoor area, offering even more vintage shopping and a beer garden.

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Beaux Arts Plumbers Union Hall Building , Near West Side Saturday September 24 2016 - Sunday December 11 2016

Pinot Days

Dr. Steve Brule would approve of this festival of "sweet berry wine!" Visitors will be able to sample up to 150 wines from more than 60 producers from across the country.

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Until Sat Apr 16

Neighborhoods of the World

Recommended

Every Sunday at Navy Pier, Neighborhoods of the World showcases Chicago's most vibrant cultural communities with live music, authentic cuisine, dance performances and art. This year's nine-week series kicks off with Chinese New Year, then explores the traditions of Africa, Mexico, Greece and more.

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17 Apr 2016

Chicago International Movies and Music Festival

Recommended

The eighth-annual CIMMfest brings more than 100 screenings and concerts celebrating movies about music and music about movies to the city. Highlights include a screening of Smart Studios Story, a documentary about the Wisconsin recording facility where producer Butch Vig made albums by the likes of Nirvana, the Smashing Pumpkins and his own band, Garbage. Acts such as Local H, Deer Tick, Tim Hecker, the Taj Majal Trio and more artists will also perform. CIMMcon, an entertainment industry conference that runs in tandem with the festival, will take place April 16 and 17. The fest occurs in various theaters, concert clubs and venues in Logan Square and Wicker Park.

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Until Sun Apr 17

Concerts in April 2016

Murder by Death

Bloomington, Indiana country rock outfit Murder by Death took its name from a satirical mystery film, starring Truman Capote and Alec Guinness. The origins of the band's moniker are appropriate, considering the cinematic scope of the tracks on its 2015 album, Big Dark Love. Backed by horns, strings and crescendoing guitars, frontman Adam Turla's gravelly baritone has all the gravitas of a narrator dictating a harrowing plot. Singer-songwriter Tim Barry and Lil Bub (The Band) open the show.

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Until Sat Apr 2

David Gilmour

Now that Pink Floyd guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour has put his former band to bed, the British musician is one more focusing on his solo career. His latest record, Rattle That Lock, serves up another helping of grandiose rock arrangements and indulgent guitar solos. In concert, Gilmour puts on a laser light show, accompanied by some selections from the Floyd catalog that should leave you comfortably numb. He'll play three nights in Chicago, splitting his time between the United Center and the Auditorium Theatre.

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Until Fri Apr 8

Pusha T

Recently promoted to president of GOOD Records, Pusha T has gone from turning in featured verses on Kanye West tracks to running Ye's record label. Known for his novelistic crack-slinging tales and nimble flow, the Virginia-native MC has been teasing his latest record, King Push, for more than a year now—hopefully he'll offer up some new material in concert.

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Until Tue Apr 5

Iggy Pop + Joshua Homme

Perennially shirtless rocker Iggy Pop is about to release a new record, Post Pop Depression, which—in spite of its name—features some of his most vital songs to date. Assisted by Queens of the Stone Age frontman Joshua Homme, Pop fronts a band that features members of Arctic Monkeys and the Dead Weather. During this special engagment at the Chicago Theatre, the entire group will be in tow, performing sinewy new tracks as well as selections from Pop's formiddable catalog. Even if you saw him at Riot Fest last fall, you don't want to miss one of the last remaining embodiments of rock n' roll slinking across the stage while growling, "I'm gonna break into your heart."

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Until Wed Apr 6

Smashing Pumpkins + Liz Phair

Recommended

In the early ’90s, the Smashing Pumpkins and Liz Phair ruled Chicago's burgeoning alt-rock scene. A few decades later, the pair is teaming up for a co-headlining tour that should make you feel like you're hanging out at the Rainbo Club circa 1992. For Phair, it's her first tour since her brief string of date behind her 2010 album Funstyle nearly 6 six years ago. Expect to hear acoustic and electronic renditions from the Smashing Pumpkins' catalogue and maybe a few tracks from the group's upcoming LP, which reunites frontman Billy Corgan with the band's original drummer, Jimmy Chamberlin.

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Until Thu Apr 14

Father John Misty

Recommended

Former Fleet Foxes drummer Joshua Tillman lends a sardonic touch to the folk ballads that populate his latest LP, I Love You, Honeybear, released under the guise of his alter-ego, Father John Misty. The bearded crooner is never without a witty retort in his back pocket, but Tillman's cynical tendencies are tempered by lush arrangements and a wry, self-depreciating sense of humor. ’70s pop devotees Tess & Dave, featuring singer-songwriter David Vandervelde, open the show.

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Until Fri Apr 15

Rihanna + Travis Scott

Recommended

Everything about Rihanna’s new album, Anti, is a bit unconventional, including its sudden digital release, its scattershot production and the inclusion of a Tame Impala cover. As much as we enjoyed last year’s “Bitch Better Have My Money,” we’re happy we can finally blast the full record in our cars and look forward to the accompanying arena tour. RiRi may have embraced the avant-garde, but we doubt she can resist dazzling choreography, fiery pyrotechnics and preemptive song-of-the-summer campaigning.

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Until Fri Apr 15

Parquet Courts

Recommended

Brothers Max and Andrew Savage, along with their bandmates, are doing the once-a-generation job of stripping rock & roll back to something tight and brilliant. The prolific band injects taut power chords with a bit of motorik intensity on its latest album, Human Performance. Gainesville punk rockers Soda open the show.

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Until Wed Apr 20

Freddie Gibbs

Recommended

Hailing from Gary, Indian, the hard-spitting mixtape marvel Freddie Gibbs has established himself as one of the most blunt voices in hip-hop, unabashed in his pursuit of the American dream (his latest single was entitled "Money, Cash, Hoes"). What he lacks in subtlety, he makes up for in great production (handled by the likes of Madlib and Boi-1da) and a relentless work ethic. Gibbs comes to Thalia Hall behind his latest, Shadow of a Doubt, on an internationally-celebrated stoner holiday—he'll likely be greeted by a dank cloud of smoke.

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Until Wed Apr 20

The Avett Brothers

Long before Mumford and Sons picked up banjos, Scott and Seth Avett were perfecting a blend of folk, bluegrass and pop balladry that made the brothers a critical and commercial sensation. The group recently recorded its ninth album with producer Rick Rubin—expect a taste of the upcoming record during this three-night stand.

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Until Sat Apr 23
See more April 2015 concerts

Festivals in April 2016

Chicago Latino Film Festival

Recommended

In its 31st year, the venerable Latino Film Fest offers a wide selection of features, documentaries and shorts from throughout the Spanish-speaking world. For a full schedule of screenings, check out the festival's website.

Read more
Until Thu Apr 21

CHIRP Record Fair & Other Delights

Recommended

Vinyl lovers can sift through thousands of records, including rare finds, at this annual event hosted by CHIRP Radio. Enjoy sets from local DJs, a cup of joe from Dark Matter Coffee and food from Moxee American Kitchen as you dig through crate in search of that elusive original pressing of Frank Zappa's Hot Rats. If you already have too many records, come for the live Chic-A-Go-Go dance party, CHIRP music trivia or a miniature First Time storytelling session.

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Until Sat Apr 9

Lake FX Summit + Expo

Recommended

Produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the inaugural Lake FX Expo + Summit will give practicing artists and creative professionals a place to meet and learn more about their craft. The four-day conference will feature keynotes by industry leaders, workshops, networking opportunities and showcases of local music and film. Confirmed guests include Sire Records founder Seymour Stein and a Second City creative team.

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Until Sun May 15

Chicago International Movies and Music Festival

Recommended

The eighth-annual CIMMfest brings more than 100 screenings and concerts celebrating movies about music and music about movies to the city. Highlights include a screening of Smart Studios Story, a documentary about the Wisconsin recording facility where producer Butch Vig made albums by the likes of Nirvana, the Smashing Pumpkins and his own band, Garbage. The fest occurs is spread across various theaters, concert clubs and venues in Logan Square and Wicker Park.

Read more
Until Sun Apr 17

Baconfest

Bacon lovers rejoice! Baconfest is coming back to Chicago with more bacon than ever. Current attendees include Black Dog Gelato, The Duck Inn, Xoco Wicker Park, Celeste, Stan's Donuts and more. Each participating restaurant and brewery is offering a bacon dish or drink, so loosen your belt and you'll be in bacon heaven.

Read more
Until Mon May 2

Chicago Taco Takedown

Get ready to stuff your face with meats wrapped in carbs at the Chicago Taco Takedown, where local chefs will attempt to create the ultimate version of this ubiquitous Mexican dish.

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19 Apr 2015

Chicago Improv Festival

Recommended

The 18th annual Chicago Improv Festival celebrates the art of "yes, and..." with a week of off-the-cuff performances at various venues, featuring local talent as well as national performers.

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Until Sun May 8

Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival

Head to the Chicago French Market for a day full of small-batch food, beer, spirits and wine from close to 100 culinary artisans. The free event includes tastings of artisan cheese, bread, beer, wine, confections and more.

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25 Apr 2015

NFL Draft Town

Recommended

Even if you can't get inside the NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre, fans will still be able celebrate their favorite teams at Draft Town in Grant Park. This free event will feature flag football competitions, a skydive simulator, a Super Bowl memorabilia museum and a bar serving up adult beverages. All 32 NFL teams will have houses where fans can gather and purchase exclusive merchandise.

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Until Sat Apr 30

Free events in April 2016

Logan Theatre's Comedy Open Mic

Sink into leather armchairs and sip on a craft beer while you watch comedians and performers take the mic. Test out your own jokes if you're brave enough.

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Until Mon Apr 4

Macy's Flower Show

Catch the final days of the annual Macy's Flower Show. This year Macy's celebrates the wide variety of flora in our nation's most iconic destinations.

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Until Sun Apr 3

The Paper Machete Show

Recommended

Christopher Piatt hosts this weekly "live magazine," a cavalcade of culture, politics and wit featuring journalists, actors, comedians and musicians offering idiosyncratic reports on the news of the day. Tune in every Saturday from 3-5pm.

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Until Sat Dec 26

Congrats on Your Success

Recommended

Head down to Logan Square's Uncharted Books for a laid-back night of free BYOB comedy. This rowdy, supportive crowd gets to watch Chicago's comedy staples (such as Liza Treyger and C.J. Sullivan now on Comedy Central) and up-and-comers

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Until Thu Aug 4

Wood Street Farm Stand

If it wasn't for the Wood Street Farm Stand you'd have to wait until mid-May for most farmer's markets to open in the city. Get fresh greens at this market that supports the Englewood community.

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Englewood

"MoCP at 40"

See moments in frozen in history through the eyes of iconic photographers such as Sally Mann, Diane Arbus and Andy Warhol. These photographs, unearthed from the archives of the Museum of Contemporary, are displayed in honor of the museum's 40th anniversary. This month guests can attend a lecture by Nadav Kander, best known for documenting the Yangztee River, and an opening reception for a new exhibition about the contemporary Iranian generation.

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Until Sun Apr 10

Soul Summit

Recommended

This killer monthly of dusty grooves and rare soul has been going strong for five years. The dance party is so popular it has its own line of apparel. Resident DJs Dave Matta, Duke Grip and Sloppy White regularly invite crate-digging experts like the Numero Group guys to spin dirty, deep 45s. Get down to vintage rhythms every third Saturday at Double Door.

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Until Sat Jan 16

Shows at Door No. 3

Every month Door No. 3 hosts free shows with local bands. On April 1 they'll kick off the month with a free show by BLOOM, MAMA and Electric Sheep. Let's hope this isn't an April Fools joke.

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Wicker Park

Beauty Bar Disco Night

Boogie down at Beauty Bar with a Wednesday night disco party. Expect DJs, cocktails and manicures in this retro salon and bar. Free admission all night long on April 13.

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West Town
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Theater in April 2016

Murder Ballad

Bailiwick Chicago turns part of the Flat Iron Arts Building into a downtown dive bar for the Chicago premiere of this immersive rock & roll musical by Julia Jordan and Juliana Nash. Amanda Horvath, Chris Logan and Matthew Miles occupy the corners of a dangerous love triangle, with Camille Robinson as the slinky narrator. James Beaudry directs.

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Until Sat May 9

The Herd

Recommended

A 21st birthday party for Andy, whose severe developmental disabilitiies have had him living in a long-term care facility, reveals strains on his extended family in a warm comedy by British actor Rory Kinnear. Frank Galati directs the U.S. premiere with a cast that includes Francis Guinan, John Mahoney, Molly Regan, Lois Smith, Cliff Chamberlain and Audrey Francis.

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Until Sun Jun 7

An Issue of Blood

This premiere from Marcus Gardley was announced in January to take the place of a previously scheduled Gardley premiere, after the playwright felt an urgent need to address recent events including the deaths of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin. An Issue of Blood, which Gardley only began writing in December, ventures back to 17th-century America and a woman known as Negro Mary in order to refllect upon current events. Chay Yew directs.

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Until Sun May 3

Carousel

Recommended

The Lyric Opera's spring staging of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel—the third in a series of five annual R&H productions—stars Steven Pasquale and Laura Osnes as Billy Bigelow and Julie Jordan. Also in the principal cast are Jenn Gambatese (Maria in Lyric's 2014 The Sound of Music) and opera star Denyce Graves, who's set to sing "You'll Never Walk Alone" as Nettie Fowler, along with Matthew Hydzik (Enoch Snow), Tony Award winner Jarrod Emick (Jigger Craigin), and multiple Tony nominees Charlotte d’Amboise (Mrs. Mullin) and Tony Roberts (Starkeeper). Rob Ashford directs.

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Until Sun May 3

Martyr

A teenage boy unaccountably adopts extreme fundamentalist Christian views, to the consternation of his mother and teachers and the potential danger of his fellow students. Joanie Schultz directs the U.S. premiere of a drama by German playwright Marius von Mayenburg (The Ugly One).

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Until Sat May 23

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Rome if you want to: House slave Pseudolus tries to make a match for his master to earn his freedom in the 1962 musical comedy loosely based on the plays of Plautus. The first Broadway outing to feature both music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Forum completes Porchlight Music Theatre's all-Sondheim season. Michael Weber directs.

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Until Sun May 24

Art and dance in April 2016

"Spreading Devotion: Japanese and European Religious Prints"

The invention of print made religious images and texts available to a wider audience, resulting in beautiful books and pamphlets that combined scripture with intricate art. The Art Institute's new exhibition examines religious prints from the East and the West, including woodblock prints of patron saints and Japanese deities.

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Until Sun Jun 21

"Dandy Lion: (Re)Articulating Black Masculine Identity"

The Museum of Contemporary Photography's latest exhibit explores the concept of the "Black Dandy", a popular culture phenomenon that defies stereotypical understandings of Black masculinity. Made up of photos depicting Black males mixing Victorian-era fashion with traditional African sartorial sensibilities, "Dandy Lion: (Re)Articulating Black Masculine Identity" highlights young men who are breaking the mold, one outfit at a time.

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Until Sun Jul 12

Ragamala Dance + Rudresh Mahanthappa: Song of the Jasmine

Recommended

South Indian dance and music ensemble Ragamala Dance Company collaborate with jazz saxophonist and composer Rudresh Mahanthappa on this interpretation of work by Tamil mystic poet Andal. "Song of the Jasmine" incorporates traditional costumes and dances, exploring the spiritual and sensual underpinnings of Indian culture.

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Until Sun Apr 12

"Joffrey Ballet: New Works"

Recommended

The Joffrey Ballet closes its 2014-2015 season with a mixed repertory program at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. The showcase includes the Chicago premiere to "In Creases," a ballet by choreographer Justin Peck set to the music of Philip Glass. "Liturgy" by Christopher Wheeldon, "Evenfall" by Nicolas Blanc and "Incantations" by Val Caniparoli will also be performed.

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Until Sun May 3

"Liz Larner"

Los Angeles sculptor Liz Larner presents her first Chicago installation in more than a decade, displaying two of her most recent sculptures on the Art Institute's Bluhm Family Terrace.

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Until Sun Sep 27

Comments

1 comments
Eileen B
Eileen B

Interested in supporting a non-profit organization of supporters and survivors of sexual abuse/assault?

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is hosted a walk on April 9th to raise awareness and collect donations for survivors to attend the 2016 SNAP Conference being hosted in Chicago.

Come out and walk for a great cause April!!!