Donor Spotlight: Mimi So
Dedicated and engaged donors are vital to the continued success of NYFA's mission to empower and serve artists. To that end, we welcome and encourage unique connections and relationships with our donors. One such partner, Mimi So, is a fine jewelry designer who recently launched the Parsons Collection, a collection of rings that honors her time spent exploring the creative arts. In that spirit, So is generously donating a portion of each Parsons Collection sale to support NYFA. We sat down with her to learn more about her artistry, why art matters, and why it was important to her to donate proceeds from her Parsons Collection to NYFA.
Tell us more about your journey breaking into the jewelry industry. What obstacles have you faced along the way?
I believe in my core to not allow anyone or anything to stand in my way of climbing to a mountain top. It's rigorous and steep. It requires a tremendous ‘workout’ of devotion, tenacity, talent, and drive to stay on one's path to success. I chose not to see things as an obstacle but rather as a challenge. Along the way, you develop believers who support your vision and want to join your camp. I pioneered into the industry where there was a lack of fashionable fine jewelry with a distinctive style—one that appealed to an audience who loves music and fashion for daily wear versus a special occasion.
How do you define art, as it applies to your own work and creative practice? What role has art played in your life: past, present, or future?
Art is powerful. It allows you to use your imagination—and that has no boundaries, but only opportunities. For me, Art cannot be forced. It should stem from an authentic space to tell one's story, or to get across your message if you hope to encourage or evoke a feeling. Art has been continuous throughout my whole life—from childhood days of doodling, using crayons in a coloring book, to adolescent years preparing school assignments, to college projects. There is not a day that goes by which I am not touching, feeling, and thinking of Art. Art is very much present in my day-to-day life—working with my clients and always designing my collections to have a purpose that will live long-well into the future.
What drew you to jewelry design, and what led you to choose it as your medium of artistic expression?
I chose Jewelry as my path because seldom can you find a career choice that allows so much joy, celebrating happy moments. It's not just a transaction—we are woven into their milestones and get to participate in their most memorable occasions. This choice of medium is crazy difficult—so complex, yet so beautiful. I would not trade it for anything. It is spectacular the magic that comes out of a jewelry creation!
As a first-generation, American-born Asian woman in the jewelry industry, how do your personal identity and your experience as a child of immigrants influence your work?
As a child of immigrants, you learn to work hard. You almost don't know you're working hard versus this is the ‘normal’ program. You develop a great sense of pride and a code of ethics because it was not handed to you. You earned it. You are unafraid to fail because you are building up versus falling down from a high position that was handed to you.
Tell us more about the inspiration and meaning behind your Parsons Collection. Why was it important to you to donate a portion of each sale of the Parsons Collection to support NYFA?
The Parsons collection reflects my desire to encourage the power of hope and creativity. The collection, named after my alma mater, honors the time I spent exploring the creative arts—a journey I started during adolescence.
I have always believed in giving back to our community, and heard of NYFA through friends who are in the art space. Donating proceeds from The Parsons Collection in support of NYFA is meant to nurture, encourage, and unlock the potential talent in the artists who are our future. Our daily world is surrounded by art, every which way we turn. We need more artists in this world to continue delivering positive messages of change through the universal language of Art.
A special thank you to Mimi for her generosity, and to all of our donors, for all that you do to support NYFA! If you would like to get more involved, please reach out to us to discuss opportunities at email@example.com. We hope to hear from you soon.
Image Credit: Photo Courtesy of Mimi So