The Center For Iranian Modern Arts (CIMA), is a non-profit organization that promotes and heightens public awareness about modern arts, particularly within the context of contemporary Iranian-American society and culture. CIMA was founded by two artist couples:  Nahid Hagigat , Nickzad Nodjoumi, and  Hengameh Fouladvand , Massoud Mansouri. These four original founders were later joined with many other artists , scholors, art critics, and other professionals to form CIMA. They were searching for a way to familiarize artists with each others works, and help end the relative state of isolation in which Iranian-American artists have found themselves working. They also wanted to create a forum not only for discussion between artists, but also create an oppurtunity for artists to engage with a broader public. The four founders have been friends for many years and have exhibited their work at many other exhibits. As working Iranian- American Artists themselves, they are in a position to understand the need for a forum for exposure, discussion, and collaboration.
These artists and scholars who organized CIMA understood that the majority of the public was not being given the opprtunity to be in touch and aware of the works of the art now being created by a vibrant and exceptional group of modern artists; they felt that Iranian-Americans were now more and more aware of the latest Spielberg or Schwarzenegger film and less and less aware of the creative work amongst fellow Iranians. They see their mission as creating an artistic community, to expose artists to new audiences, to make a place where the Iranian- American artistic community can feel at home,and to create a space of interaction and exchange of ideas. In particular, they aim to create an educational forum to be used by the youth of the Iranian-American community, in a place that stresses the cultural and the imaginative, rather than the explicitly dogmatic or political.
As a way of realizing these goals, after many discussions, CIMA was finally established in September of 1998; a not-for-profit organization purely for the arts. Next, pragmatic steps to make it happen were taken and the first CIMA exhibit "Passions Evoked" (Reviewed here) was organized and received wholeheartedly by a suppportive community of artists and patrons, friends and associates. Along with the visual art exhibits, CIMA plans on organizing performances and lectures about a variety of subjects from the visual arts to the written word, and workshops on painting, sculpture, and the graphic arts for old and young alike. 'Passions Evoked", Summer Group Show, "Panj": works of five female Iranian artists, To meet the Authors "A World Between" a collaboration with Asia Society , and "Persian Fiction and Iranian Culture" in collaboration with Columbia University,a book exhibition and panel discussion  featuring Iranian shcolors including: Mahmoud Dolatabadi, Shahryar Mandanipour, Javad Mojabi, Shala Lahiji, Azar Nafisy, and Mohammad Ali Sepanlu was arranged and hosted by Professor Hamid Dabashi , Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Ciltures of Columbia University and member of CIMA's dvisorory Panel.
By  sponsoring  such important cultural events CIMA demonstrates the remarkable accomplishments, originality and artistic contributions of Iranian artists to American audiences. To date CIMA has featured over thirty artists in total, and has created new audiences for many different venues.

--Tanaz Eshaghian
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