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

TORONTO, Sept. 1 /CNW/ – 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, fulfilment 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 labour 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

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

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.

For further information: Alana Lipton, Edelman,
(416) 979-1120 x222

Reproduced from http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/September2009/01/c9131.html