Membership is by invitation only. A member of the Cowboy Artists of America may identify and refer a candidate to the full membership for consideration. Recommendations for membership are based on the original purposes and goals of the organization: "Educational; to investigate, discuss, perpetuate and publish, through art, painting, drawing and sculpting; the authentic facts and color relative to the historic, social, political, economic and religious background of the American West; to, wherever possible, preserve a record of the cultural background and evolution of the American Western Region, as it was then and is now; to hold an annual art exhibit; to help inform and educate the public about the true Western heritage and to encourage and promote the collection and preservation thereof; to conduct an annual Trail Ride, or Rendezvous, to recreate and rekindle, as near as possible, the spirit of the old American West; and, to promote all corollary activities thereto. We strive to achieve these goals in the tradition of Remington and Russell."
Knowledge of the organization, its history and the work of CAA members past and present is invaluable to the artists that aspire to become members. There are many resources that provide information on the history and culture of the organization and there are numerous books about the lives and art of CAA members.