It’s Day 198 and I’ve decided to spend today and tomorrow honoring the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists of the US. Boy, today was difficult and I’m thinking tomorrow will be even harder! Today I painted with my mouth and tomorrow I’ll be painting with my foot! Join me in celebrating these wonderful artists.
Formed in 1956, the MFPA is an international, for-profit association wholly owned and run by disabled artists to help them meet their financial needs. Members paint with brushes held in their mouths or feet as a result of a disability sustained at birth or through an accident or illness that prohibits them from using their hands.
The roots of the MFPA go back to 1956, when Erich Stegmann, a polio-stricken mouth
painter, gathered a small band of disabled artists from eight European countries. Their ultimate goal was to make their living through their artistic efforts, and to obtain a sense of work security that until then had eluded them.
Coupling his creative abilities with business acumen, Stegmann established the MFPA as a co-operative organization that reproduces its artists work mainly in the form of cards, calendars and books.
From the small group he gathered for the inaugural meeting of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists, the group has now grown to represent approximately 800 members, from over 75 countries around the world.
One of the main themes of Stegmann’s credo was that the MFPA must never be regarded as a charity simply because its members are disabled.
To Stegmann, the word “charity” was as abhorrent as the word “pity.” The Association maintains that it
is not a charity and does not qualify for charitable assistance.
To this day, the MFPA’s motto in the United States remains: “Self Help – Not Charity.”
“So many opportunities have come from being involved with the Mouth & Foot Painting Artists Association”
– Cindi Bernhardtl
The Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (MFPA) is an international organization, controlled by its artist members, whose purpose is to:
- Make contact with artists who have lost the use of their hands through birth defect, accident or illness, and now paint with their mouths or feet.
- Make contact with disabled people who would like to learn to paint and support
themselves in this capacity.
- Offer moral and financial assistance to the disabled that are interested in becoming students, and offer students financial, practical and creative support to become fully developed artists and members of the Association.
- Establish publishing houses.
- Tend to the interests of the artists by facilitating the sale of their work, primarily in the form of reproductions as greeting cards, calendars, etc.
- Publish material that communicates and supports the purpose of the organization.
- Assist disabled artists in the attainment of self-respect, creative fulfillment and financial security.
“Joining MFPA helped me find my voice. Meeting fellow artists and having this career has validated everything I have
gone through. You’re not an island.”
– Robert Thome
“I didn’t know how I would satisfy my independent streak, but MFPA has helped me remain confident
in my ability to take care of myself and to honor my art.”
– Dana Wolf
The information above is from the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists of the USA’s website. Please visit that site and see all the wonderful art and read about the artists!
Today’s painting was one of the most difficult artistic endeavors I’ve ever done. I have to admit that I did use my hands to rinse the brushes. I can’t believe how much a human being has to swallow! I was drooling all over the place. I got through it and I think it turned out good. I’m curious to see how I do with my feet. I have a feeling it’ll be even more difficult.
I hope you enjoy my piece and I’ll see you tomorrow on Day 199…day 2 of this tribute!