Farnaz Tasbihgoo was born in Tehran, Iran to two architect parents and was exposed to art from a very young age. She obtained a degree in both Fine Art Painting and Architecture and then continued her journey in art by obtaining her master’s degree in Fine Art Photography, allowing her to tell stories through her camera. Farnaz has great experience working with children: she has taught art classes to children (ages 2-12) at the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California (ICCNC) in Oakland and, in addition, assisted in developing the science curriculum. Farnaz also has extensive teaching experience at Boostan Kids in San Mateo, where she has taught children ages 2-4.
Negar is an Iranian artist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She obtained her bachelor's degree in Clinical Psychology and Interior Design. She has produced many programs including puppet shows, painting, writing, woodworking, and handcraft workshops for NGO's that work with children. Negar is currently working as a theater set-stage designer and costume designer.
Fine artist and artisan, Alice Pennes, has been teaching art for over fifteen years. She has a master’s degree in Integrative Health from the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), for which she focused on the healing power of creative expression and the connection between art and wellness. Alice has had the opportunity to engage with a diverse range of different communities, including Latino youth, women’s groups, and children and adults with disabilities. Organizations Alice has worked with include, but are certainly not limited to: Employee Wellness, Prestwood Elementary School, Social Advocates for Youth- Grief Services, Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, ArtEscape.
Somaieh Amini was born on Christmas day of 1981 in Isfahan, a historical city in central western Iran with a strong cultural heritage. She started her artistic career when she was 18 and she received her BA in painting from Al-Zahra University in Tehran, Iran and her master’s from the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. She has an extensive portfolio covering a wide variety of mediums, focusing on oil and canvas.
Shimana moved to the United States in 2014 from Tehran, Iran, where she studied graphic design at Tehran Art University. She pursued photography after obtaining her degree, as her fascination with other people’s stories motivated her to capture narratives through imagery. Shimana came to the United States to obtain a dual degree in marriage family therapy and art therapy at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California. She studied therapy in hopes of spreading the healing power of art and to help others find meaning within their own unique stories through therapeutic process. Alongside her studies, Shimana is passionate about street photography and the process of traveling, capturing, and immersing herself in other parts of the world. The power of connecting with others of different cultures is what drives her in her work.
Sophia Sattar was born in Karachi, Pakistan. She graduated in 1995 from Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, receiving her bachelors in Fine Arts in painting and a minor in printmaking. Sophia has been featured in the Herald and Extra magazine in Pakistan and in the American Collectors Art and Islamic Art magazine in the May Issue 2013. KALW, San Francisco covered her in their Crosscurrents show in March 2014. She has earned her MFA in the graduate school of painting at the Academy of Art University in 2012. Sophia was nominated in the Emerging Art Series at the Academy for 2013. Her work has been selected as part of the Student Outreach Program by the De Young Museum. She sees her paintings as a bridge between East and West with Arabic calligraphy with a Western sensibility.
Tina is an industrial designer in San Francisco Bay Area currently working at Stellar Design. Originally from Los Angeles, she obtained BS in Industrial Design at San Jose State University. Growing up she has experimented with a variety of different kinds of art and design, from sketching and ceramics to graphic design and soft goods. Tina is a maker and enjoys learning new mediums and methods to create, from using wood shop and sewing to utilizing laser cutting and 3D printing. As a designer, she is interested in creating sustainable products that are intuitive for users.
Samira Akbari was born in Isfahan, she studied Architecture and after four years being interior designer decided to follow her dream, studied fine arts in India and completing her MFA in sculpture at Academy of Art San Francisco.she works for fine art museum of San Francisco and enjoying every day working with art and Artist. She is a companion, anywhere, any time you can ask her about art, life, and beauty.
Isobel Marcus does ceramic art, experimental music and social work in Oakland, CA. She is a Licenced therapist and focuses on trauma integration through creative resilience with youth, families and clinicians. Her community-based mental health work is grounded in equity and social inclusion. Artistically, Isobel is interested in the social-emotional qualities of clay and how we engage in collaborative art relationships. She has been a contributor to the Oakland underground music scene as an organizer and performer for 10 years. She currently works as a school therapist, facilitates the Confetti Art Collective, engages in the music project as VVDWNDWS and does ceramic work at Standard Parts.
Lexy is an interdisciplinary artist who is interested in the intersection between art making and making the world a better place. She explores social and environmental themes through work that is humorous, playful, and interactive. Lexy passionates about arts and accessibility, and have most recently been exploring public and participatory art, including performances, murals, and workshops. Her long-term project is entitled KOOKERVILLE, a fictitious world where your inner child goes to when it has been lost. This is manifested in the form of outlandish creatures, called Kookers, that are made from found and recycled materials. The Kookers roam around New York City to spread joy, play, and social disruption.
Alex is an animation artist from Russia, moving to California in 2009. She holds a BFA degree in animation from California College of the Arts in San Francisco, but pursues career in Art Education. She is a strong believer in art changing lives and giving a second chance. Using traditional forms of art such as watercolor and oil paints, Alex advocates for social issues and tries to bring communities together without judgement.
Polina is an illustrator and painter all the way from Russia. She was born and raised in Moscow. In 2014 Polina moved to San Francisco, CA where she received her BFA in Illustration at California College of the Arts. Her miraculous, mystical illustrations derive inspiration from nature, myths and stories of various cultures. Polina has a strong emphasis on traditional media, she loves working in graphite and watercolor.
Global Chapter Coordinators
Shima Sheikholeslami, Zurich Chapter
Shima was born in Tehran in 1986 to a science and research devotee father and an art and literature enthusiast mother and this could be the reason she believes in art as a process, leading to a glimpse of human nature and how art creates more than a beautiful piece.
Shima left Iran in 2010 and since then she had lived in Malaysia and Singapore and now is based in Zurich, Switzerland. She is studying her Masters with Open University on development management and has a background in agriculture. As one of the founders of ARTogether's Global Communities initiative, Shima currently holds art and craft classes for children in Zurich. The focus of her classes are creation and creativity with everyday objects ranging from potatoes and pasta to a huge cardboard box or a pile of leaves.
Bahare Rezaeean, Fort Worth, TX Chapter
Bahareh was born in Tehran, where she was introduced to the art and art therapy by attending sculpture and craft classes from a very young age. She is still perusing her passion by working on creative projects. She has a background in project management and she has recently pursued her MA in operation management. Bahareh has worked as a refugee resettlement case worker in Istanbul and Austin TX. Through years of experience working with refugees, she learned that refugees need more than shelter and financial support in order to acclimate to their new environments. That is why she decided to join ARTogether’s Global Chapter in order to serve her community in Fort Worth, where she provides creative craft sessions to refugees from many different backgrounds. Through these sessions, she aims to bring people together and help them build stronger communities.