Membership of Aosdána, which is by peer nomination and election, is limited to 250 living artists who have produced a distinguished body of work. Members must be (or have been) resident in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland for five years and have produced a body of work that is original and creative. There are certain exceptions where artists resident outside of the island of Ireland may be eligible if the body of their work is deemed to significantly benefit the arts in Ireland. The current membership is 246. Membership is now open to architects and choreographers.
A number of members are recognised by their peers for outstanding achievement by the title of Saoi. No more than seven current members may be so honoured at one time. The title of Saoi is conferred by the President of Ireland and is held for life.
Members of Aosdána may, under certain conditions, avail of the Cnuas, a stipend which is designed to enable them to devote their energies fully to their work. Members in receipt of a cnuas report annually on their work and confirm their on-going need of the support provided by the cnuas. After a period of five years they may re-apply for a cnuas to the Arts Council and their continued eligibility for receipt of the cnuas is assessed.
Aosdána members meet annually in a General Assembly, to elect new members, to review the affairs of the organisation and to discuss the position of the artist, and the arts in society.