By Kimmie Collins
Jul 29, 2021
Artists see the world as a blank canvas, waiting for a story to unfold. They pull inspiration from their surroundings, creating a palette of masterpieces that beg to be developed. For Indiana State University junior Nina Mims, that inspiration is drawn from the challenges she and others experience every day.
Mims grew up loving animated shows and movies, and, like many children, was captivated by the tales of superheroes and mermaids.
Despite her artistic ability, she couldn’t picture herself as those characters.
“When I was growing up, I saw a lot of big lead roles that didn’t really have my complexion. It made me feel like I can’t be a superhero or a mermaid or a main character,” Mims revealed. “As a little girl, I felt like I couldn’t expand my imagination because the people on TV didn’t look like me.”
She’s determined, though, to create stories that are more inclusive than the ones she watched growing up. The fine arts major from Chicago sees the rich elements of animation as a way to create positive change in the world.
“I just love how cartoons have this message,” she smiled. “They’re supposed to be for kids, but they aren’t just for kids. Animation is a medium that just has meaning.”
Mims wants to listen to the voices of others to tell stories that truly represent everyone, regardless of their background, ethnicity, or personal struggles.
“How I’m trying to express my art is to uplift and educate and allow people to feel,” she explained. “I want them to know they are being understood in my form of art. I also want them to understand that they are not alone.”
Animation, however, isn’t Mims’ only avenue for changing the world. The Honors student is pursuing a civic leadership minor, with hopes of attending law school after graduation.
Her goal is to be the first animator elected president of the United States.
“I feel like the only change we could really do is if we’re in the system,” she said.
Mims is already tackling that goal during her time on campus. She became involved with the University’s Project Success Program before her freshman year, which provided her opportunities for leadership and to feel more comfortable on campus. Now, Mims seeks to smooth the transition to college for others as a Peer Mentor through the Mentoring Center.
Mims is honing her leadership skills as the chapter president of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the director of public relations for the Residence Hall Association.
She also serves as the vice president of Black Student Union. “It is a big step for me to help bring change on campus,” she said. “Black Student Union brings in people who are leaders, who want to be heard, and who wish to be empowered. It is not just an organization but an element of advocacy.”
Mims represents the students of Indiana State as a member of the Student Government Association Senate.
“I’m proud to be a Sycamore because the Sycamores are proud to have me,” Mims proclaimed. “I really love that we’re people wanting to connect with each other to make a difference.”
Mims will use both platforms – animation and leadership – to give a voice to those who may not have the ability to speak for themselves. She brings their stories and their success to life through her art, while advocating to ease their struggles through her leadership.
“I want these kids out here to see that everyone can be someone,” she emphasized. “Everyone’s the main character in their own story.”