Maribor Art Gallery opened its door on 8th February, 1954. Maribor thus received the first professional institution engaged in museum and gallery activity in the field of modern art. The city once again became a relatively important focal point for artistic and cultural activities, originating in tradition of the Grohar Art Club, going back to the 1920's with its pioneering role in terms of organized artistic life in the city. By settling in the building on the corner of Strossmayerjeva and Orožnova Streets, UGM acquired about 800 m2 of exhibition space, which are completed with the representative Great and Pillar Halls. The central exhibition grounds are located in the former bourgeois palace from the first half of the 19th century and in the former church of a celestial monastery from the second half of the 18th century. After merging with the Rotovž Exhibition Hall in the 1980s, UGM acquired a department for contemporary art and additional presentation spaces in the city centre.
Today UGM acts as a regional museum of contemporary visual arts in the territory of its founder, the Municipality of Maribor and in the broader region of north-eastern Slovenia. It is one of the public cultural institutions of wider significance.