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Recycling the Big Box
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In spring of last year, Julia Christensen ’05 tossed a couple of suitcases in her 1999 white Subaru Forester and drove nearly 20,000 miles across the United States. But her road trip of several months was not the sightseeing, soul-seeking excursion of a typical college student. Instead, the multimedia artist traveled coast to coast on a mission to connect communities in the midst of a growing phenomenon: abandoned “big box” buildings that once housed megastores.

“In each town I’ve visited, people are very aware of their own situation. They’re very aware of the empty building they have to deal with,” says Christensen, who received a master of fine arts in electronic arts in May. “But until I came along, they didn’t realize that this is a nationwide pattern happening everywhere. By sharing the experiences of other towns, I hope to open people up to understanding alternative ideas for how these spaces can be utilized.”

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by Jodi Ackerman Frank

Store photos by Julia Christensen; Portrait of Christensen by Lonny Kalfus

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Rensselaer (ISSN 0898-1442) is published in March, June, September, and December by the Office of Communications.

 
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