The National Gallery of Arts is a state institution under the dependency of the Ministry of Culture. This highly important art institution functions based on the Law of Museums and the Law of Art and Culture of the Republic of Albania.
The beginnings of the National Gallery of Arts can be traced back to the endeavors of a group of Albanian artists and the Arts’ Committee of 1946. Pinakoteka was the first institution of fine arts in Albania. After much toil and extensive efforts, the Gallery of Arts officially opened to the public in Tirana on 11 January 1954. The Gallery worked in two main directions: exhibiting the permanent collection and opening temporary exhibitions of Albanian and foreign artists. The new visions on the development and display of fine arts, as well as the new acquisitions increased the number of artworks at the Gallery’s disposal and brought about the need for a larger and more functional new building.
The new venue opened on 29 November 1974. It was situated on the "Martyrs of the Nation" Boulevard and it is the existing building where the National Gallery of Arts stands today. This new opening is the moment of reorganization and of the first rebuilding programme which consisted in establishing an administrative structure made up of several departments dealing with artistic activities. The fund of the new gallery, up to this time, counted 340 artworks and its archives counted 240 registered artists. From this moment onwards the Gallery of Arts functions as the only and most important national institution of exhibiting, conserving, studying, restoring, publishing, documenting and archiving the works of art in Albania.
In 2009 and 2010, the National Gallery of Arts underwent important renovation works through a series of considerable private and public investments, which consisted in a qualitative reconstruction of interior spaces, aiming to preserve the original architectural project, as much as possible.
Part of the major reconstruction of the National Gallery it has also been showing the permanent collection in May 2009, through a new visualizing concept, aiming to a better dissemination, education and information on cultural matters, for anever increasing Albanian and international public.
Today the National Gallery preserves/ conserves over 5000 artworks. Besides the permanent collection which is focused on Socialist Realism art, famous Albanian artists, international ones and important collections have been part of the different exhibitions in the National Gallery of Arts. An important policy of the NGA activities are also the educational programs, where many children and students participate.. Visitors of the National Gallery have the opportunity to enjoy the activities and the exhibitions’ rich program, to know more about Albanian visual art.