Join us to celebrate this year’s fifteen National Academicians and their entry into our vibrant artist- and architect-led community.
2020 National Academicians
On Wednesday, October 28, 2020, the National Academy of Design inducted fifteen new National Academicians. Becoming a National Academician (NA) is a lifetime honor and one that cannot be applied for or solicited. In a tradition dating back to 1825, current members confidentially nominate and elect new National Academicians each year, honoring the group’s remarkable contributions to the canon and story of American art. The National Academicians of 2020 join 440 living members, with over 2,387 elected since our founding.
National Academicians serve as ambassadors for the arts in America. They show work in our exhibitions, foster the next generation through our educational programs, and, in keeping with an almost 200-year-old tradition, contribute a work to our collection. The NAD’s permanent collection of over 8,000 works—unlike any other in the United States because it is shaped by the National Academician members themselves—represents one of the nation’s most significant holdings of American art and architecture.
As opposed to the two main academies in the country predating the National Academy of Design—the aforementioned American Academy of Fine Arts (founded 1802) and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (founded 1805)—which consisted mostly of businessmen and collectors aimed at cultivating public taste and commercial gain, the NAD was founded by a concern for the needs of artists. The NAD was the first institution in the US founded by and under the exclusive control of professional artists.