Anyone who has lost the use of their hands and paints by holding the brush in their mouth or with their feet can join.
The Association has three qualifying levels: Student Member; Associated Member; and Full Member. The majority of artists are normally admitted as student members. To maintain consistently high standards, artists must attain a level of expertise that will satisfy the critical examination of a panel of assessors before they are promoted to a higher level.
The panel of assessors comprises the serving AMFPA President or his/her delegate appointed from the Association’s Managing Board and two eminent and recognised non-disabled artists.
When approved, the Managing Board can admit the new member or student subject to ratification by the members at the next Delegates’ convention.
The Association is constantly seeking promising new talent among disabled people who, perhaps, first take up painting as a form of therapy. Links are fostered with education and training establishments for young disabled people, such as Stoke Mandeville Hospital and the Lord Mayor Treloar school and college at Alton in Hampshire.
‘Joining the Association was the best thing that has happened to me since my accident – the Association is so caring’Kris Kirk, mouth painter
In addition, newspaper reports which identify disabled painters previously unknown to the Association are followed up. The Association is always eager to hear from members of the public about potential members.
In Britain, some of the artists lecture, teach and maintain contact with therapists who might introduce them to potential artists.
‘The MFPA has been my springboard ’Alison Lapper MBE, mouth painter
Students are provided with a substantial grant to pay for tuition or a scholarship to an art college. Students’ work is periodically reviewed until they achieve a standard which enables them to be considered for promotion.