Shrimp Boat Projects is an arts research and presenting organization that focuses on the intersection of labor, landscape, and culture, specific to the Houston, Texas region.
Shrimp Boat Projects operates the commercial shrimp boat, F/V Discovery and a retail seafood business in tandem with an artist residency, project commissions, and public events.
Shrimp Boat Projects is organized by Zach Moser
Zach Moser is an artist based in Houston, TX. Through his artistic practice, he facilitates collaborative and interactive investigations, designed to discover alternative methods of communication and new expectations of human potential. His work focuses on pursuing knowledge, alleviating the critical effects of injustice and participating in creative communities. He received a BA in studio art from Oberlin College in 2002 and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2008. In 2001, he founded and facilitated the Big Parade of Oberlin, OH, and in 2003, he co-founded the youth development organization Workshop Houston. He has exhibited his work and projects at the Contemporary Art Museum of Houston, the Glassell School of Art and Diverseworks Art Space. Moser received the Compton Mentor Fellowship in 2003, the Artadia Award in 2006, the Idea Fund in 2008, in 2011, was an Artist in Residence at the University of Houston Mitchell Center for the Arts, and in 2012 received a Creative Capital Visual Arts Award .
Shrimp Boat Projects began in 2011 as three year investigative project by collaborators Zach Moser and Eric Leshinsky. The project was initially inspired by the national media coverage of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 that laid bare the region’s issues of identity. Zach and Eric asked: Why is the gulf coast in the national consciousness only defined through the specter of disaster? Why are its problems allowed to overwhelm its identity? Why could the Gulf Coast not project a positive identity of itself?
Shrimp Boat projects was conceived to know the landscape as deeply and completely as possible in order to begin constructing a new identity for the Houston region that would provide for a better future, a richer culture, one that maintains and strengthens a relationship with the land. Eric and Zach saw the labor of shrimping , with its dependence on the native ecology of the region, as the last remaining way of life that would allow access to this type of understanding of landscape. With this belief they set out to become full-time commercial fishermen in Galveston Bay. With Zach as Captain and Eric as deckhand, they purchased and refurbished an aging shrimp boat, rechristened it the F/V Discovery, and spent three seasons learning the trade while finding ways to present the issues encountered while fishing. Eric moved on to other projects in October 2013 at the culmination of the research phase of the project. Zach along with Katy Goodman and deckhand Robert Hetzl are carrying on the project in its next phase of cultural production.