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 reefs. As of early 2020, more than 40 Satellite Reefs have been made worldwide, including in Chicago, New York, London, Melbourne, Santa Cruz (California), Scottsdale (Arizona), Madison (Wisconsin), Asheville (North Carolina), England, Ireland, Latvia, Germany, and the United Arab Emirates. More than 10,000 people – mostly women – have contributed to this ever-growing woolen archipelago. The first Satellite Reef was constructed in 2007 by the citizens of Chicago, hosted by the Jane Addams Hull House Museum and the Chicago Humanities Festival. Below is a chronological list of all Satellite Reefs, along with their hosting institutions.
If your organization would like to start a Satellite Reef, please send us a formal inquiry. We welcome queries from different types of institutions at different scales. Some reefs are gigantic, other small and intimate. Some involve a few dozen participants, others have engaged nearly a thousand people. At the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, more than 900 people contributed models 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 coming from Austria and the Netherlands. Far-flung contributors send in their models by post. In Dublin, a reef was hosted by the legendary 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. NYU Abu Dhabi Institute in the UAE hosted a reef constructed around traditional fishing baskets; and at the Hayward Gallery in London’s Southbank Center, UK crafters fabricated their reef around a series of giant plaster-cast “reef balls” designed to emulate the actual concrete structures scientists use to encourage new growth at sites of living reef destruction. At the Helsinki Art Museum, almost 5000 reefers are currently at work on a Satellite Reef to be displayed at the 2020 Helsinki Biennial.
Satellite Reefs have been made at art galleries, science museums, universities, colleges, libraries, civic centers, and schools. The project has also been done in a women’s prison in Indiana, and at a girl’s juvenile detention center in Houston, TX. Each new site adds further layers of social complexity and human richness, extending an experience of making art to people in diverse communities and settings.