The membership of TCAA is made up of select individuals with established reputations as saddlemakers, silversmiths, bit and spur makers, and rawhide braiders. They are all legitimate heirs to a legacy that tracks back to the classical vaquero tradition of Visalia saddles, Santa Barbara bits, and Ortega rawhide.
The artist members accept membership applications from western craftspeople within the four disciplines it presently represents but seventy-five per cent of the active membership must approve candidates in an annual review process. All work must combine artistic quality with genuine practicality—so that even when pieces may genuinely be considered fine art, the over-riding criterion is one of use and function.
Joining the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association
The members have recently reviewed the application procedure with the intention of making the process less intimidating and more positive for the applicant. The revised procedure encourages craftspersons who are interested in applying to approach a member in their discipline for a preliminary discussion of their work and of the responsibilities and benefits of membership.
If at that point the craftsperson intends to go further, the member may take examples, or photos, of the work to the next meeting for a review by the entire membership. That review will result in either advice on which areas of the work require improvement or encouragement to apply for membership.
Formal application for membership would then take place at the Fall TCAA meeting.
The application would include three pieces made in the past year (one if a saddlemaker), a biography, a portfolio of photos of past work and a personal interview with the members.
A standardized scoring system is now in place which will provide constructive feedback on all elements of an applicant’s work.
The TCAA is looking forward to seeing applications from qualified and interested craftspeople with this open and transparent approach.
Overview of the process:
- Show your work to a TCAA member and discuss the duties of membership.
- Member will take your work photos and bio to the next TCAA meeting or advise you about improving your work.
- Once your work has been reviewed by all members at a semi-annual meeting and following a simple majority vote, you may be invited to submit an application OR offered a critique aimed at improving your work before applying.
- For the second stage, formally applying for membership, you must submit your application by August 1st and attend the fall business meeting in Oklahoma City with three pieces of new work (one piece for saddle makers) and participate in the interview process.
Please submit your application to:
P.O. Box 2002
Salmon, Idaho 83467
TCAA Member Responsibilities
Members must be established craftspersons producing high quality work in saddlemaking, western silversmithing, rawhide braiding, or the making of bits & spurs.
Membership requires a commitment to fine craftsmanship and to the mission of the TCAA. Participation in ongoing educational programs is expected of all members, including lectures, seminars and mentoring fellow craftsmen. Attendance is required at a business meeting each spring and at our TCAA Annual Exhibition and Sale in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Active members also contribute yearly dues in an amount determined annually by the membership. A standardized format has been adopted to ensure fair and equal consideration. The TCAA does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, religion, gender, or national origin.
When an individual becomes a member of the TCAA they agree to accept the responsibilities of membership.
These responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Pay yearly dues in the amount of $300.00, or as determined by the membership at the fall meeting.
- Attend two meetings each year (spring and fall) at their own expense, and to actively and knowledgeably participate in decision making at the meetings.
- Choose and actively participate in committee groups within the Association, make decisions on policy, bylaws, finances, education, and all other Association business.
- Participate in workshops at the Museum or elsewhere as an instructor, assistant instructor, speaker, demonstrator, support staff or host.
- Accept students, upon participating member’s approval, at their personal shop as instructors.
- Continue their personal education in their field of study at their expense.
- Personally make at least 3 (or more) pieces of the highest quality for Exhibit and Sale every year at the NCWHM, delivered by the deadline with no guarantee of sale, at their own expense. These pieces must be made for the exhibit and sale of that year and not have been offered for sale prior to the exhibit and sale at the NCWHM.
- Fairly and honestly critique and judge work, based on its merits, submitted by individuals applying for membership in the Association.
- Act in a professional manner while at TCAA functions and events as well as when dealing with customers and public, keeping in mind they represent the TCAA and what it stands for at all times.