Artist in Residence

Shrimp Boat Projects

Photo credit: Lake County Discovery Museum/Curt Teich Postcard Archives

SHRIMP BOAT PROJECTS: Investigating the Labor of a Landscape

The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston presents Shrimp Boat Projects, a creative research residency that explores the regional culture of the Houston area. The primary site of the investigation is a working shrimp boat on Galveston Bay which serves as a catalyst for labor, discussion and artistic production. Shrimp Boat Projects is co-created by Eric Leshinsky and Zach Moser, Artists in Residence at the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts.

Through Shrimp Boat Projects, Moser and Leshinsky will work as bay shrimpers in search of a fundamental regional identity for Houston that is derived from the landscape. Additionally, by working in a direct relationship to the land, they seek to uncover values that unify the interests of ecology, economy, and culture and to promote and communicate these values across diverse audiences and disciplines.

Shrimp Boat Projects will take place over the next 2-3 years. The first phase will focus on research and discussion; it contains four program areas:
● Labor: Eric Leshinsky and Zach Moser are actively working as Galveston Bay shrimpers, learning the labor of the landscape, and engaging in the economy of the fishery. The heart of Shrimp Boat Projects is this labor and the shrimp boat itself.
● Classes: Moser and Leshinsky are teaming with faculty from the University of Houston Creative Writing Program, School of Art, and Interdisciplinary Art program to teach three classes over two semesters. The classes will use explorations of Galveston Bay as a laboratory to explore theories of place and the different ways artists, writers, historians, geographers, and scientists define, participate, and respond to regional cultures.
● Events: In collaboration with University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, Shrimp Boat Projects is organizing a series of public events to discuss and highlight the socio-economic and cultural issues that are embedded in the project.
● Regional Artist Exchange: During the course of Shrimp Boat Projects, artists, writers, and others interested will be invited to participate by joining Moser and Leshinsky on their daily shrimping expeditions. These expeditions will be catalysts for artistic research projects that respond to significant and under-valued aspects of Galveston Bay. By participating in the labor of the landscape, artists will be able to create work that is more relevant and consequential to the region.

Beyond this initial phase, the Projects will focus on production and dissemination. Future plans include public art projects, a symposium, an exhibition, and possible publications. To read the official Shrimp Boat Projects blog and stay up to date with recent trips, projects and progress, go to

Eric Leshinsky is an artist, designer and design educator. In 2009, he founded GRAPH—an environmental research and design office engaged in collaborative projects at the intersections of architecture, art and advocacy. He holds a Bachelors Degree from Columbia University in Political Science-Economics and a Masters in Architecture Degree from Rice University. In 2005, he founded the Museum for Missing Places as a short-term experimental institution in Houston, Texas, to initiate dialogues about the city’s less acknowledged public places. Eric has taught previously at Morgan State University School of Architecture & Planning, The George Washington University, the Delaware College of Art and Design, University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation and the University of Houston Gerald Hines College of Architecture.

Zach Moser is an artist living and working in Houston, Texas. He has built a practice facilitating collaborative and interactive investigations with a focus on pursuing knowledge, alleviating the critical effects of injustice, and participating in creative communities. He holds a Bachelors Degree from Oberlin College and has attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. In 2001 he founded and facilitated the Big Parade, of Oberlin, Ohio and in 2003 he co-founded the youth development organization Workshop Houston. He has also exhibited his work and projects at the Contemporary Art Musuem of Houston, The Glassel School of Art, and Diverseworks Art Space. Zach received the Compton Mentor Fellowship in 2003, the Artadia Award in 2006, and the Idea Fund in 2008.


Related Events:
Feb 16, 2011 – Shrimp Boat Projects: The Launch
Apr 27, 2011 – Screening: Veins in the Gulf
Jun-Aug, 2011 – Open Call for Participation
Oct 26, 2011 – Poetry & Prose: Environmental Writers of Galveston Bay
Nov 16, 2011 – Artist Talk: Mierle Laderman Ukeles in Conversation with Shrimp Boat Projects
Mar 10, 2012 – The Spirituality of Stewardship, Sustainability and Food