Shedd Aquarium’s conservation fundraiser BLU shines a light on plastic pollution

The Shedd Aquarium‘s Auxiliary Board celebrated 12 years of BLU, its signature fundraising event, on Aug. 18 with 900 guests in attendance. The evening highlighted the aquarium’s newest exhibit, “Underwater Beauty,” and included animal encounters, live music, a drag show, full access to exhibits, dancing, more than 30 premier food vendors and much more.

As guests entered the party, they passed larger-than-life sculptures of aquatic animals made entirely from plastic beach trash for the “Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea” project. There were 19 sculptures total scattered throughout the venue. Since 2010, the nonprofit has processed tons of plastic pollution from Pacific beaches to raise awareness and inspire people to take action against the global marine debris crisis.

The evening began with a VIP reception held on the North Terrace. Against dazzling skyline views, partygoers enjoyed music by Harlem Natural and a meet-and-greet with Ivy and Jasmine, two South American green tree pythons.

In the main foyer, a drag show featured performances by Chicago’s Kat Sass, Trannika Rex and Tenderoni. In a nod to the aquarium venue, Alexis Bevels performed on roller skates as a mermaid. More animal encounters included South American Magellanic penguins, a caiman lizard, a black and white tegu and a South American freshwater puffer fish.