Drawing from Adversity: Disabled artists support themselves despite tough economic conditions
Mouth and Foot Painting Artists of Canada helps disabled artists foster a unique skill
Every artist dreams of being able to live off of their artwork, but few are fortunate enough to be able to sustain themselves through their creativity alone. Despite the current state of the global economy and the limited options available to disabled people in the Canadian workforce, the members of the Mouth and Foot painting Artists of Canada (MFPA) have been fortunate to be able to work within an organization that provides them with independence, fulfillment and job security. The Canadian branch of the MFPA lives by the motto "Self Help - Not Charity". As owners of the association, the artists are able to provide themselves with a steady income through the sale of greeting cards and calendars, reproduced from their original paintings.
"Being a member of the association has allowed me to express myself artistically, something I always wanted to do as a little girl," say Susie Mathias, MFPA Full Member, Ontario. "Becoming a mouth painter and selling my artwork has provided me with a steady monthly income and a creative outlet."
An Opportunity for a Future
The majority of disabled Canadians are not so fortunate, especially in these tough economic times. As of July 2009, the national unemployment rate currently sits at 8.6 per cent, while:
Ontario's at 9.3 per cent,
British Columbia's at 7.8 per cent,
Alberta at 7.2 per cent,
Quebec at 9.0 per cent
According to Statistics Canada, 49 per cent of disabled Canadians are unemployed, or are not in the labor force at all. The disabled community in Canada has limited workforce options available to them and the need to expand the number of employment opportunities is clear. The MFPA has been changing the lives of disabled Canadian artists for more than fifty years and continues to provide its members with the opportunity to live their dream.
"When looking at the current unemployment figures in Canada it becomes clear that the economic downturn has taken a toll on many people," says Jim March, director, MFPA North America. "The MFPA offers moral support and financial assistance to disabled artists, enabling them to attain creative fulfillment and independence."
A Sense of Purpose and Fulfillment
The Mouth and Foot Painting Artists of Canada (MFPA) is a for-profit association made up of artists who paint with brushes held in their feet or mouths as a result of disability sustained at birth, or through an accident or illness. As owners of the association, MFPA artists sustain a consistent income by selling reproductions of their original art as calendars and greetings cards throughout the year. By promoting self-help instead of charity, the organization helps artists become self-reliant and achieve recognition through their work as artists. The MFPA is a good resource for disabled artists as membership provides artists the opportunity to overcome their challenges by helping them build a career that allows them to become independent
See the Artists in Action
A public art demonstration will be held in Toronto on September 23, 2009 from 11:00am.-2:00pm at Yonge-Dundas Square, showcasing Ontario artists Susie Matthias and Amanda Orichefsky. From September 24-October 2, 2009 (excluding weekends), the MFPA will be holding an exhibit in Toronto open to the public located at 183 St. Clair Avenue West. The exhibit will be available for viewing from 9am - 3pm.
For more information about the MFPA, to purchase product, or to view a full list of products available, visit www.mfpacanada.com.
About the MFPA
The MFPA has been operating in Canada since 1961 and is a member of the International Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists. There are currently 13 disabled artists working in Canada and over 700 others around the world. The artists paint with their mouths or feet as a result of a disability sustained at birth or through an accident or illness.