Wellington the rockhopper penguin checks out the beluga whales at the Shedd Aquarium. Credit: Courtesy Shedd Aquarium

Today the exhibition “Palette and Palate” opens at Madron Gallery (1000 W. North). It’s a retrospective celebrating Chicago’s Riccardo’s Restaurant and Gallery that anticipates a PBS documentary on the topic dropping in December. In the mid-20th century, Riccardo’s Restaurant and Gallery was founded by former WPA artist Ric Riccardo. At first, he immersed diners in his own work, but gradually he started showcasing friends only to grow invested in exploring what makes Chicago artists unique—this at a time when Chicago was even less respected among the art world than it is now. (For reference, the Art Institute wasn’t even showing local artists when Riccardo’s opened its doors in 1933.) Eventually, Riccardo’s developed a mission, hired a curator, and held monthly exhibitions that regularly attracted all manner of cultural innovators: journalists, movie stars, musicians, socialites, and more. “Palette and Palate” includes work by Ivan Albright, Malvin Albright, Bernece Berkman-Hunter, Aaron Bohrod, Vincent D’Agostino, Todros Geller, Rachel V. Hartley, Edgar Rupprecht, William S. Schwartz, Robin Artine Smith, Ethel Spears, Ruth Van Sickle Ford, Rudolph Weisenborn, and the man himself: Ric Riccardo. The gallery is open to the public 9:30 AM-4:30 PM Monday through Friday and by appointment on evenings and weekends. “Palette and Palate” is on view at Madron until December 16. (MC)

Also starting today, the Shedd Aquarium is “free” to all Illinois residents on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays for the rest of September. Note that tickets must be reserved in advance (no walk-ups), and a $3 ticketing fee applies. When checking in, you must present an Illinois state ID. Yes, it’s not really free because it costs $3—but sure beats the typical $19.95 price for Chicago residents! Open hours at the Shedd (1200 S. DuSable Lake Shore Dr.) change from week to week, so check out their calendar for details. (MC)

Midwest Black Restaurant Week is a chance to experience the flavors of some of Chicago’s favorite Black-owned restaurants and culinary businesses. Through September 11, a variety of food and nightlife purveyors throughout the city and suburbs will offer specials. Check out the Black Restaurant Week website for a list of participants and more details. (SCJ)

We’ve been hearing that buzz this summer, but where is it coming from? The Singing Insects Monitoring Program is a citizen science effort to familiarize people with common sounds of singing insects in the Chicago region, including grasshoppers, cicadas, katydids, and crickets. Tonight is a chance to hear the sounds in a different way, with the guidance of Chicago sound artist Eric Leonardson, who leads a Singing Insects Soundwalk starting at 6:30 PM at Northerly Island Park (1521 S. Linn White). This walk is co-hosted by the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology (Leonardson serves as the organization’s president). Meet at the park’s visitor center and find more information about the walk at the society’s website. (SCJ)