Rice University and a FEMA trailer seems curiously incongruous, but a FEMA trailer is exactly what is resolutely sitting on the lawn outside Rice Gallery right now. Well, at least it used to be a FEMA trailer. It's been re-purposed as an Emergency Response Studio, a solar powered mobile artist studio.
It's the brainchild of artist, Paul Villinski, created in response to a visit to New Orleans post Katrina. It's a brilliant idea; creating beauty and function out of something previously deemed a toxic environment in which to live.
My response? The Amazing Reese and I have talked for years about going off grid, not in a tree-hugger kind of way, but more to cruise and travel, me painting and Reese playing the guitar, our own little version of the ideal life. After being in the beautifully re-designed relatively spacious ERS trailer, Big Man Reese wasn't nearly as enthusiastic on the idea as before....which is saying a lot, because Reese means enthusiastic, and he excels at living up to his name. To be fair, Reese is 6'4", and the trailer, as creative and thoughtful as it was, made him feel slightly claustrophobic.
So, as wonderful as the Emergency Response Studio trailer is, I am glad that our life hasn't required living and working in one. If, for some Act of God or other unforeseen reason we needed to live in a FEMA trailer, hands down this is the one I would want. God bless Paul Villinski for giving people hope that even a FEMA trailer can be a beautiful thing.