The People’s Reef – crocheted by citizens of New York and Chicago; curated by Christine Wertheim for Track 16 Gallery exhibition, Los Angeles, 2009.

Photo by Francine McDougall for the Institute For Figuring

In addition to the Core Collection of reefs constructed by Christine and Margaret Wertheim, the Crochet Coral Reef project encompasses a community program in which citizens of various cities and countries create their own local Satellite Reefs. As of 2021, 48 Satellite Reefs have been made worldwide, including in Chicago, New York, London, Melbourne, Santa Cruz  (CA), Scottsdale (AZ), Asheville (NC), England, Ireland, Latvia, Germany, Finland, and the United Arab Emirates. More than 15,000 people so far have contributed to this ever-growing woolen archipelago. At the end of the page is a list of all Satellite Reefs, along with their host institutions.

Reefs in the time of COVID

The Crochet Coral Reef’s Satellite program offers a unique model for art-making in the time of COVID. In mid-2021, with the world still in various stages of lockdown, 5 new Satellite Reefs are in process. The Baden Baden Satellite Reef  underway in Germany will be exhibited at Museum Frieder Burda in 2022, alongside the core reef collection. At Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, a citizens’ reef will also be accompanied by an exhibition of the IFF’s reefs, and at the Tang Teaching Museum, the ensuring reef will be a centerpiece of the exhibition Radical Fiber: Threads Connecting Art and Science. New reefs are also being made at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and in Mexico City, hosted by the radical art collective Red de Reproduccion y Distribucion. A recently completed Helsinki Satellite Reef is now on-show at the Helsinki Biennial (June-Sept, 2021).

Local Satellite Reefs

If your organization would like to start a Satellite Reef, please send us a formal inquiry. We welcome queries from different types of institutions. Some reefs are gigantic, others small and intimate. Some involve a few dozen participants, others engage thousands. The first Satellite Reef was made in 2007 in Chicago, hosted by the Jane Addams Hull House Museum and the Chicago Humanities Festival. At the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, 900+ people contributed from all 50 US states and a dozen other countries. At the Museum Kunst der Westküste on the island of Fohr off the coast of Germany, over 700 citizens across Germany and Denmark participated, with contributions also from Austria and Holland. Far-flung contributors send in their models by post. In Dublin, a reef was hosted by the Science Gallery at Trinity College, Ireland’s foremost academic institution; while in Melbourne, the project was enacted at the Burranja Cultural Center, which in part serves women subject to domestic violence. In the UAE, the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute hosted a reef constructed around traditional Emirati fishing baskets; and at the Hayward Gallery in London, UK crafters fabricated their reef on a series of giant plaster “reef balls” designed to emulate the concrete structures scientists build to encourage growth at sites of living reef destruction.

screen full of rainbow colored crochet corals Person standing in a giant room of crocheted coral Three women standing among reef scultures in an overhead shot Woman standing among reef scultures against a red wall Reef sculptures in gallery Crochet coral reef installed at Oodi Library in Helsinki Smiling woman in front of colorful reef sculptures young women and men crocheting, some of the women are wearing the hijab A group of women crocheting Person among reef sculpture in overhead shot

Satellite Reefs have been made at art galleries, science museums, universities, colleges, civic centers, and schools. The project has also been done in an Indiana women’s prison and at a girl’s juvenile detention center in Denver. Each new site adds further layers of social complexity, extending an experience of making art to people in diverse communities and settings.

See links here for a deep dive into a few select reefs. Then a full list of all Satellite Reefs in chronological order.

Chronological List Of Satellite Reefs

2021 (currently ongoing)

2020/2021

2019

  • Lehigh Satellite Reef – Hosted by the Lehigh University Art Galleries (Bethlehem, PA)

2018

  • Eindhoven Satellite Reef – Hosted by Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven, The Netherlands)
  • West Valley College Satellite Reef – Hosted by West Valley College (Saratoga CA.)

2016

  • UC Santa Cuz Satellite Reef – Hosted by the Institute of the Arts and Sciences, UCSC (Santa Cruz, CA)
  • UW La Crosse School Reef – Hosted by University of Wisconsin, La Crosse (WI)
  • Del Rio Satellite Reef – Hosted by Del Rio Council for the Arts (Del Rio, TX)

2015

  • San Antonio Satellite Reef – Hosted by Southwest School of Art (San Antonio, TX)
  • Minneapolis Satellite Reef – Hosted by Minneapolis Institute of Art (Minnesota)
  • St. Michael’s Collegiate School Reef – Hosted by St.Michaels Collegiate School (Hobart, Australia)

2014

  • Föhr at Deustches Museum Satellite Reef  – Created by Fohr Satellite Reef crafters at the Museum Kunst de Westkust, for the exhibition After the Anthropocene at the Deutsches Museum (Munich, Germany)
  • Zagreb Satellite Reef – Hosted vy Ocsana (Zagreb, Croatia)
  • Sunshine Coast Satellite Reef – Hosted by Caloundra Regional Gallery (Queensland, Australia)
  • Methodist Ladies’ College School Reef – Hosted by Methodist Ladies College (Melbourne, Australia)

2013

  • Manchester Satellite Reef – Hosted by the Manchester Museum (Manchester, UK)
  • Baltimore Satellite Reef – Hosted by Gallery CA and Neighborhood Fiber Co. (Baltimore, PA)
  • Denver Satellite Reef – Hosted by the Denver Art Museum (Denver, CO)
  • NYU Abu Dhabi Satellite Reef – Hosted by the New York University Abu Dhabi Institute (Abu Dhabi, UAE)

2012

  • Föhr Satellite Reef – Hosted by the Museum Kunst der Westküste (Fohr, Germany)
  • St. Petersburg FL. Satellite Reef – Hosted by Florida Craftsman (St. Petersburg, FL)
  • Roanoke Valley Satellite Reef – Hosted by Roanoke College (Virginia)

2011

  • Melbourne Satellite Reef – Hosted by Tracy Hallyar for the Burrinja Community Center, (Melbourne, Australia)
  • Asheville Satellite Reef – Hosted by the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design (Asheville, North Carolina)
  • Lake Bonneville Satellite Reef – Hosted by Brolly Arts (Utah)
  • Pennington School Reef – Hosted by the Pennington School (NY)
  • Maine Satellite Reef – Hosted by The West Oxford Agricultural Society (Maine)
  • Roanoke Valley Satellite Reef – Hosted by Roanoke College (Virginia)
  • Vassar College Reef – Hosted by Vassar College (NY)
  • RiAus Adelaide Satellite Reef – Hosted by Royal Institution of Australia (Adelaide, Australia)

2010

  • Irish Satellite Reef – Hosted by Science Gallery at Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Cape Town Satellite Reef – Hosted by Woodstock Art Center (Cape Town, South Africa)
  • Indianapolis Satellite Reef – Hosted by Indiana State Museum (Indianapolis, IN)
  • Gainesville, Florida Satellite Reef – Hosted by University of Florida Library (Gainesville, FL)
  • Smithsonian Community Reef – Hosted by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (Washington, D.C.)

2009

  • Scottsdale Satellite Reef – Hosted by Scottsdale Public Art (Scottsdale, AZ)
  • Scarsdale Middle School Reef – Hosted by Scarsdale Middle School (NY)
  • Sydney Satellite Reef – Hosted by In Stitches art collective (Sydney, Australia)
  • Fukuoka Satellite Reef – Hosted by Museum Lab (Fukuoka, Japan)
  • Latvian Satellite Reef and Latvian Schools Reef – Hosted by Gallerie Consentio (Riga, Latvia)
  • Albany Satellite Reef  – Western Australia – Hosted by MIX Artists collective (Albany, Australia)

2008

  • New York Satellite Reef – Hosted by the New York Institute of the Humanities, New York Crochet Guild, and Harlem Knitting Circle. (NYC, NY)
  • UK Satellite Reef – Hosted by the Hayward Gallery at the Southbank Center and the UK Crafts Council (London,UK)
  • Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School Reef – Hosted by Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School (San Jose, CA)

2007

  • Chicago Satellite Reef – Hosted by Jane Addams Hull-House Museum and the Chicago Humanities Festival (Chicago,IL)
Reef sculptures in gallery

Irish Satellite Reef at Science Gallery, Dublin.

Photo © Institute For Figuring.

Lehigh Satellite Reef (detail).

Photo by Mark Wonslider for Lehigh University Art Galleries.
Group portrait of women

Crochet reefers at the Indiana State Women’s Correctional Facility, with their contributions to the Indianapolis Satellite Reef.

Photo courtesy Indiana State Museum.