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 organisation 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 more than 800 members, from 78 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 worldwide remains
“Self Help – Not Charity.”