Established in 1951, East Slovak Gallery was the first regional gallery in Slovakia. The mission of the Gallery is the protection and presentation of the collection and documentation of the art scene and artistic life in the region of Eastern Slovakia.
Today the Gallery houses over 7,000 works of art. Apart from a representative collection of nineteenth and twentieth century art from the region of Eastern Slovakia, the collection also provides an overview of modern and contemporary Slovak art. In addition to its extensive exhibition activities the Gallery also focuses on research and exploration of art scene in Eastern Slovakia, and especially of Košice modernism, the phenomenon associated with the 1920s characterised by the unusual development of modern art. In its vast premises, the Gallery presents a wide range of Slovak and international art. The accompanying activities such as guided tours, children´s workshops or lectures and Library with professional art literature offer great possibilities of spending leisure time directly at the gallery premises.
The day 12 January 1985 wrote the history of the East Slovak Gallery as an unfortunate event. On that day an extensive fire broke out in its storerooms and destructive flames suddenly transformed hundreds of works of art into cinders and ruin. The fire was caused by leak from a damaged street gas pipe. The fire irreversibly destroyed 1030 works of art.
As part of the European Capital of Culture, a section of the gallery was rebuilt in 2013 and a new underground exhibition space was created to serve primarily for the presentation of contemporary art.