Fine Arts Building

410 S. Michigan

Some haunted spots add, shall we say, another dimension to performances. Such is the gorgeous but seriously decayed Fine Arts Building, which Julia Rae Antonick used for her breathtaking Commissura in April. A landmark structure built in 1885 and lavishly renovated, art nouveau style, in 1898, it’s dwarfed by the Auditorium, just around the corner. But for more than a century this overlooked spot has housed artists, arts teachers, and arts organizations—some 60 at the moment. Its two ground-floor theaters are in disrepair after use as movie theaters (closed in 2000), but Antonick forged ahead and set Commissura in the tenth floor’s Curtiss Hall, sometimes used as a music venue. Her preshow ranged over the top four floors of the stairwell, and in the hall itself Francesca Bourgault’s dramatic lighting complemented the diffused glow of dirty city windows. The passionate, intimate, ingeniously staged Commissura set this ghostly place on fire. —Laura Molzahn