Becoming a Member

The path to membership

 The Society has evolved over the last few years and its memberships structure has been modernised to fit with the wishes and aspirations of practising artists, existing members, alumni and others interested in this art form. The Society is the foremost organisation supporting and promoting botanical art in the UK and further afield. As such it is the professional body for those practising the artform.

 We now have three main categories of membership

  • Fellows (formerly called Full membership)
  • Foundation members (formerly called Open membership)
  • Student members (these are current students who are studying the Society’s distance learning diploma)

Fellows (formerly called Full membership)

Fellows are those artists whose work is consistently of a high standard of artistry and observation and who can rejoice in becoming part of a Society that has a broad and yet vibrant selection of artistic styles, while still supporting and highlighting the excellence of exquisite botanical illustration.

This type of membership is restricted to professional, practising artists who require the qualification “SBA Fellow” to demonstrate excellence in this field. Our aim is to encourage and support those at the pinnacle of their artistic prowess.  Our Fellows will be representative of the very best botanical artists from around the UK and the world. There will be a rolling programme of applications going forward.  Your application can be submitted at any time and will be considered for Fellowship at one of two dates per year. This qualification is widely recognised and a requirement for applicants for certain roles in the profession and is only awarded if rigorous criteria are met (set out below under the heading “Rules”).

A selection committee, made up from experienced Fellow members of the society and guest judges from the botanical and or art world (when available) will judge your application. Our Fellow membership application process is distinct from our exhibitions. We hope that each applicant’s work will be of such a high standard that we can offer membership on one application but if your work is considered not quite ready, you can apply again for the next application date with new or improved pieces.

We want to encourage you and we hope you will aspire to join us, so we have plans to offer ‘portfolios days’ when you can bring work in to ask advice, etc. about seeking help on how to improve.

What happens next

After being elected to Fellow membership you will be entitled to use the letters SBA Fellow after your name, signifying a guarantee of excellence in the world of botanical art. The Society will then expect only your finest work to be submitted for our shows, the selection is achieved on points and is not based on personal opinion; your work alone will be your passport to selection.
You will also be bound by our code of conduct which ensures that the worldwide esteem in which the SBA is held is retained.

The application process can be accessed by using this link

 Rules of Process/Criteria:

  • Digital uploads/emailed scanned images of five of your best completed pieces (they can be two single studies and three compositions or four completed pieces and four sketchbook studies.)
  • Using a selection committee, ideally with the inclusion of a professional in the field from outside the Society
  • Written artist statement to be submitted, we request this in order to learn more about you the artist, your work, what is important to you and what you as an artist can bring to the Society.
  • Opportunity to view supplementary things such as portfolio, work in progress or sketchbooks to enable the Society to get a fuller picture of your work and style.
  • Relevant and appropriate process for overseas/distant applicants so that they are able to apply and not be discriminated against and make the costs of applying more manageable
  • Consideration of the applicant’s work in the round and their approach to botanical art e.g. examples of your presence on social media.
  • It is preferable but not always essential to have had work, ideally several works, submitted and accepted for a past SBA exhibition.

The Society is also keen to receive applications for Fellow membership from those artists who have completed the Society’s Distance Learning Diploma Course, especially those who achieved a Distinction or who have gone on to develop their individual style.  The Society may approach artists with a proven professional track record and reputation in the field of botanical art or illustration.

Benefits:

  1. The most significant benefit is to use the title “SBA Fellow”. This internationally recognised qualification demonstrates professional expertise and is a guarantee of professional competence and artistic creativity. Fellowship is a requirement for applicants for certain positions in the field of botanical art and is a widely acknowledged accreditation for commissioners of art, other Fellows and the public in general. It is also a significant recognition of your status as a professional artist whose work is of the highest quality.
  2. Our Welcome magazine and pack (printed), all about the Society featuring illustrations from our Fellow members.
  3. Spring & Summer downloadable magazine featuring artwork, articles, tutorials and other items
  4. Winter magazine (printed) a celebration of our year in art and the achievements of our members
  5. Submit works or articles for our magazines and downloads
  6. Have your own artists page on the SBA website and display the details of all your courses and workshops on the members’ courses page
  7. Enter up to six works into the London exhibition at a submission fee of £18 per work (subject to selection)
  8. Commission on exhibition sales of 35% for work up to 75cm on the longest side and 40% for more than 75cm
  9. Membership card and Badge
  10. A free copy of our show catalogue when attending the exhibition, on production of membership card
  11. Have your accepted work feature in our main show catalogue.
  12. Advanced notice of SBA events
  13. Enjoy being associated and feature with other SBA Fellow artists via the publications produced.
  14. Commercial commissions and opportunities that arise are offered exclusively to our Fellow SBA members
  15. Opportunity to exhibit and sell sundry items at shows e.g. books, cards, folios, etc.
  16. Opportunities to exhibit in satellite SBA shows UK and abroad e.g. Palmengarten, etc.
  17. Make connections and gain exposure for your artwork.
  18. The opportunity to attend the Christmas social event (from 2019, Fellows have priority to attend)
  19. The opportunity to attend free or subsidised trips to museums or events with your fellow artists
  20. The opportunity to attend exclusive paid study events
  21. Experience being part of an international art organization, including the opportunity to meet fellow artists and other interested individuals, inspire and gain support from one another and share information and news about the world of botanical

Subscription fees
UK based artists: £130 pa; outside the UK: £145 pa (higher to cover additional postage costs), due 1 January each year

An invitation to renew subscriptions is issued each year in January and subscriptions must be paid by 31 March each year.  Failure to do so (without explanation) will mean you cease to be a member.  You will then need to reapply.

Foundation membership (formerly called Open  membership)

The SBA has redefined its new level of membership. Foundation membership is aimed at those interested in botanical art, in particular practising artists. However we consider this membership is primarily an intermediary step for members that are inspired to proceed to Fellowship. Specifically, we hope that our former students and to those who are aspiring to be practising botanical artists apply for this membership in order to move forwards the Fellowship qualification should they so wish.

A Foundation member will be required, as a minimum, to have an interest in, and a love of, botanical artistry. This will need to be demonstrated via our rules which are set out below. Additionally, expertise and competence in, or the recognition of, artistic creativity will be recognised when consideration is given to an application.

You can join us to be a Foundation member at any time for a period of one year. An applicant is required to pay a joining fee and will become a member to enjoy the following benefits below, which are the same as the previous open membership.
Foundation members are bound by the Society’s Code of Conduct.

(Changes: Life Friend members will continue as before but benefit from all Foundation membership benefits, Friends category will be replaced by Foundation membership.)

Rules of Process/Criteria

  • Students having successfully completed the DLDC will be accepted as a Foundation member for the first year after graduation. It is hoped that they can use this year to consolidate their learning from the diploma and to use the opportunity to consider how they might develop themselves further as an artist.
  • Other applicants will be considered on merit. Whilst this class of membership is open to all, in reality we want to encourage everyone to be the best they can, whether they pursue the appreciation of botanical art, or are planning to develop their artwork towards achieving Fellow membership in the future, or are somewhere in between.

Benefits

  • Enter up to five works into the London exhibition at a submission fee of £18 per work (all work is subject to selection)
  • Commission on exhibition sales of 35% for work up to 75cm on the longest side and 40% for 75cm or more (to receive this benefit you must be an Open member within the month that precedes any of our open shows and membership cannot be back dated)
  • Our Welcome magazine (printed), all about the Society featuring illustrations from our Fellow members.
  • Winter magazine (printed) a celebration of our year in art and the achievements of our members
  • Spring & Summer downloadable magazine featuring artwork, articles, tutorials and other items
  • Regular email news
  • The opportunity to attend exclusive paid study events
  • Can provide a stepping stone towards Fellowship

Subscription fee

UK based members: £65 pa; outside the UK: £80, (higher to cover additional postage costs), you can join at any time, with renewals every 12 months from signup date. Join Here

Student Members

Included in the relevant course fees (only applies to students currently studying with the Society’s Distance Learning Diploma Course)

Benefits:

  • Exhibition: up to five works at a submission fee of £18 per work (all work is subject to selection)
  • Commission on exhibition sales of 35% for work up to 75cm on the longest side and 40% for more than 75cm
  • Welcome and biannual magazines (free)
  • Spring & Summer downloadable magazine featuring artwork, articles, tutorials and other items
  • The opportunity to attend exclusive paid study events

Hon. Retired Member

No subscription.

Benefits:

  • Exhibition: up to five works at submission fee of £18 per work
  • Commission on exhibition sales of 35% for work up to 75cm on the longest side and 40% for more than 75cm
  • Christmas event (chargeable)
  • The opportunity to attend exclusive paid study events

Non-member

No subscription.

Benefits:

  • Exhibition: up to five works at submission fee of £18 per work (subject to selection)
  • Commission on sales of 45% for work up to 75cm on the longest side and 50% for work more than 75cm

All members will be required to have an active email address in their own name and to keep the membership secretary advised of any changes to this or other contact details.

Billy Showell and Gael Sellwood
February 2020