Awardee: Eric Leshinsky

Visual Arts, 2012

Eric Leshinsky is an artist, designer and design educator engaged in collaborative projects at the intersections of architecture, art and advocacy. He holds a bachelor's degree from Columbia University in Political Science-Economics and a Master's of Architecture Degree from Rice University. In 2005, he founded the Museum for Missing Places as a short-term experimental institution in Houston, TX, to initiate dialogues about the city’s less acknowledged public places. In 2008, he co-founded D:center, Baltimore and the Baltimore Design Conversations, both as vehicles to foster greater design culture in Baltimore. In 2009, after many years of working collaboratively with other artists, architects, landscape architects, planners and advocates, he founded GRAPH, an environmental research and design office, as a way of furthering these collaborations. Eric has held teaching positions at The George Washington University, Morgan State University School of Architecture & Planning, Delaware College of Art and Design, University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning Preservation and, in 2011, was an Artist in Residence at the University of Houston Mitchell Center for the Arts.

Project: Shrimp Boat Projects

Shrimp Boat Projects is an investigative process designed to resolve the distinct concerns of ecology, economy and culture into a unified understanding of the Houston region. To embody this understanding, the founders of Shrimp Boat Projects, artists Eric Leshinsky and Zach Moser, engaged in a form of labor wholly dependent on the native landscape of the region, shrimping in Galveston Bay on their boat the F/V Discovery. The project has taken several years, and included phases of research, production and communication. In its research phase, Shrimp Boat Projects has been leading explorations of the bay, organizing events to discuss the issues and values of the project, engaging in the economy of bay shrimping by restoring a boat, learning to set the nets, deciphering the geography of the bay, marketing their catch, and, finally, inviting artists and others to participate in their daily shrimping expeditions. In 2014, Eric Leshinsky withdrew from the project.