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What is PPFA? Learn about this PMA member association, its benefits, and resources.

The Professional Picture Framers Association, or PPFA ( ppfa), is the PMA member association for the art and framing industry. Supporting a membership of more than 3,500 custom picture framers, art galleries, manufacturers and distributors, the association provides its members in North America and overseas with educational workshops, business programs, and technical and marketing support designed to help cut costs and boost bottom-line profits.

Member benefits

One of the best reasons to join PPFA is to take advantage of the certification program. Members can become a Certified Picture Framer (CPF) or a Master Certified Picture Framer (MCPF), improving their knowledge and skills in the technical art of framing and preservation, while gaining a strong edge over their competition. (See page 32 for more details.)

For Members Only, the 16-page monthly PPFA publication, brings members news on industry trends, PPFA members, events, and certification exam schedules.

Another benefit to being a PPFA member is the Online Exchange, "Hitchhiker," located at The site allows members to network, problem-solve and share ideas with art and framing colleagues from around the world, all from the comfort of their homes or offices.

PPFA members can join an e-mail distribution list dedicated to association members. By subscribing to this list, members can share art and framing questions and ideas or discuss any industry topics by sending an e-mail to the list. That message is forwarded to everyone else on the list, who can then respond. Subscribers receive all replies to their messages, as well as any new messages their colleagues have sent.

The Virtual Chapter Room is part of the Online Exchange. It includes a searchable archive of more than 37,000 past list messages; a classified ads area; the Trade Show Connection for making contact with others going to industry shows; and the Virtual Chapter Directory, a listing of fellow Virtual Chapter members.

Also available are PPFA Business Briefs, which offer valuable information for running a successful art and custom framing business. Published periodically, Business Briefs are accessible online by current PPFA members.

The PPFA HelpLine--(888) 542-4844--is an invaluable resource for members. Diane Day, CPF, has run the PPFA HelpLine for the past 15 years, and stands by Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST, to take calls from PPFA members with technical problems or questions about procedures, or who are in need of artwork and framing supplies. The HelpLine library contains information on a wide variety of art and flaming topics to aid in solving both common and unique framing problems.

Two of the newest member benefits are the Framer's Library, which offers articles on technical and preservation framing issues, as well as consumer-centric articles members can download to use on their websites or in newsletters; and the PPFA postcard program, which works in conjunction with PostcardBuilder to help framers create, print and mail full-color postcards to promote their businesses.

PPFA also offers Digital AdMaker, with tools for creating print and Internet ads, counter mats and posters.


PPFA hosts framing competitions for members. For the 2007 PRINT Framing Competition, member firms frame the same piece of art. The "art" for this competition is defined as any image or object selected by the Chapter Leaders for the annual competition, and can include a limited edition image, canvas, needle art, photograph, or a collectible or three-dimensional object.

Each participant competes at his or her local PPFA Chapter PRINT Competition. There are currently 26 defined chapters of PPFA. Members who do not reside within a defined chapter compete in the PPFA Mailbox Chapter PRINT Competition. All first-, second- and third-place winners and all honorable mention winners from the chapter competitions are eligible to advance to the International PRINT Framing Competition, held at the PPFA Annual Convention. The first-place winners of the International PRINT Framing Competition receive $1,200. The second- and third-place winners receive $600 and $300, respectively.

Publications and business resources

PPFA makes available a variety of marketing research materials to members, such as the 2006 PPFA Financial Survey of Retail Framing Businesses--Performance and Cost Benchmarks.

In addition, PPFA members have access to a wide range of business programs offering members-only benefits, including PPFA group rates and discounts.

CPF marketing materials will let members' customers know they have achieved the framer's mark of excellence by passing the Certified Picture Framer exam. PPFA also makes available complimentary marketing items, including the CPF logo, ad slicks, and CPF description for business cards, all in camera-ready format. Additionally, members can take advantage of PPFA predesigned ads and radio spots.

The PPFA Bookstore (see sidebar on page 28) and Business Resources also offer its members posters and brochures to increase customer awareness of the value of professional custom framing.

Members are encouraged to utilize the PPFA Direct Mail service, to spread the word to retail customers about the latest products and services they're supplying to the art and framing industry.

To help protect PPFA members' businesses, Meadowbrook Insurance Group offers members a Workers Compensation Program and Property/ Casualty Program. Also, NOVA Network offers members payment processing solutions, such as credit card acceptance, check guarantee, and gift cards.

Buy the book

A range of books, DVDs and other products available through the PPFA Bookstore help members hone their craft. Among the many resources available are titles like these:

* "257 Framing Tips from the Experts," by Vivian C. Kistler, CPF, offering hundreds of useful little secrets learned through trial and error.

* "An Introduction to Water Gilding: A Guide for Gilding Picture Frames from Gesso to Patina," by Marty Horowitz and Lou Tilmont. This book leads the reader through the complete process of water gilding, from the treatment of the raw wood, the preparation and application of gesso and preparing the clay, to laying leaf.

* "Color Harmony 2: A Guide to Creative Color Combinations," by Bride M. Whelan. This publication presents an introduction to color theory and includes color cards of all the basic colors that can be cut out and used separately.

* "Cutting, Carving and Decorating Mats," by Brian Wolf, CPF, explains how to design well-proportioned mats. It covers topics like multi-angles, inlays, V-grooves and decorative carving. It offers patterns to trace for mat carving, and suggests color combinations for color panel mats.

A brief history of PPFA

1971--PPFA first incorporated in State of California.

1973--National office established in Virginia.

1986--Certified Picture Framer (CPF) Program initiated.

2001--PPFA members approve affiliation with Photo Marketing Association International.

2003--Master Certified Picture Framer (MCPF) program initiated.
COPYRIGHT 2006 PMA Magazine
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Framing 101; Professional Picture Framers Association
Comment:What is PPFA? Learn about this PMA member association, its benefits, and resources.(Framing 101)(Professional Picture Framers Association)
Author:Kruger, Jennifer Barr
Publication:PMA Magazine - Connecting the Imaging Communities
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2006
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