Click on the alphabet on the left to view a complete alphabetical list of all the National Academicians. Mission & History In 1825, a group of artists and architects including Thomas Cole, Rembrandt Peale, Ithiel Town, Samuel F. B. Morse, and others formed what would soon become the National Academy of Design. Modeled on the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the National Academy included a school, a regular exhibition program, and a professional honorary organization of artists and architects. Today, the National Academy’s original mission, established to “promote the fine arts in America through instruction and exhibition” remains as relevant today as it was nearly 200 years ago. Academicians are elected by their peers, and today there are over 400 livings Academicians with more than 2,260 artists and architects having been elected since the institution was founded. These artists and architects represent some of the most distinguished practitioners in their respective fields. Collectively, they comprise a legacy of American visual culture that is passed down from generation to generation with the election of new Academicians each year. Becoming a National Academician National Academicians are professional artists and architects who are elected to membership by their peers annually. It is an honor bestowed on an artist or architect by current members of the Academy and membership cannot be solicited or applied for. The candidate must be proposed, by an Academician who secures letters of recommendation from other members, and then voted on by the entire membership, achieving a two-thirds majority of the vote to be elected.