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A Portal Between Tehran and NYC: Open For Conversation

By Mahsa Payesteh, National Iranian American Council (NIAC)

Without a doubt, the lack of diplomatic relations between the US and Iran creates a serious hurdle for Iranians and Americans to meet one another. But artists in NYC and Tehran launched a project, known as Portals, that solves that problem.


In December 2014, Shared Studios launched an initiative led by a team of Americans and Iranians, including NIAC’s own former Outreach Director, MichelleMoghtader. Their Portals project created an innovative forum through which individual Americans in New York and Iranians in Tehran had the chance to speak “face-to-face” instantly through a Portal, a gold shipping container equipped with audio-visual technology. 

Inside these connected Portals in Tehran and New York, more than 650 people participated in 15 minute discussions to answer the question, “What would make today a good day for you?” Iranians and Americans disrupted their daily routines to speak with a stranger they have been separated from for two generations due to distance, politics and economics. This project evoked emotions in both communities that they may not have seen otherwise. People came out of the portals giddy, weeping, and everything in between. If the goal of art is to change how people see the world and alter their perspective - even for a brief moment - this project certainly achieved its goal.

Steven Inskeep from NPR’s Morning Edition and Fareed Zakaria of Public Global Square both visited the New York City art installation. Hear what they had to say about it here:

To learn more about how Shared Studios enables individuals to see, hear, and converse with people far away from, and often far different from, themselves: please visit their site at

Going from New York to Tehran in minutes time

Artist Amar Bakshi speaks to Ayman Mohyeldin about his new art installation

... Payvand News - 01/26/15 ... --

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