Zahra Jahanyfard was in elementary school when the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq began. She shares, “When I was afraid, my outlet was to doodle on paper, drawing pictures of my dreams for the future.”
Doodling turned into a passion for art, and by the age of 17, Ms. Jahanyfard was an art teacher. At 19, she got married and relocated to Isfahan, where she studied at Pardis University. After graduation, Ms. Jahanyfard opened an art institute, Bahar School, where she taught drawing, sculpting and painting. Over a 12-year period, the school increased from two to 220 students of all ages and backgrounds.
The family relocated to Lexington, Mo., in 2007, where her husband was an instructor at the University of Central Missouri. Using her love for art, she painted and restored murals. She sketched and gave away portraits to college students and she taught art to help others find healing and identity. She used her passion to open doors and blend in to the community.
In 2017, Ms. Jahanyfard’s family relocated to Frisco. “Because art helped me achieve dreams I had as a little girl, I wanted to bring that same magic to residents of Frisco by sharing my passion. I began making connections by teaching at One River School of Art + Design and serving as the director of education for the Frisco Fine Art Gallery.” One of her first connections was with Nazanin Ahmady, an Iranian artist degreed in therapeutic art. They joined passions and opened Junction Arts, located in the heart of Frisco, with the purpose of using art to help people heal, connect and find peace.
One cannot enter Ms. Jahanyfard’s world without acknowledging the roles both art and history played in bringing her from the warzone of Iran to fulfilling her dreams in America. Ms. Jahanyfard’s dream is to establish an art residency program between Iran and the U.S., allowing artists from both countries to travel and make connections with people, countries, culture and art.