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The Akademi was inaugurated on August 5, 1954, by the then Honourable Minister for Education, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.  The Akademi was given statutory authority in 1957, under the Societies Registration Act 1860. Since its establishment it has been serving the entire country by promoting the creative endeavours of Indian artists and bringing their arts to bear upon a large number of people, thereby playing an important role in defining and redefining, the sensibility of an entire culture, falling under the visual arts spectrum.

Lalit Kala Akademi is an institution that has rendered service to the arts in the nation long before the world woke up to the global impact of Indian art. Through the leadership of its members and staff, the Lalit Kala Akademi manifests a commitment to the service of the visual arts by establishing, preserving and documenting visual art of the highest order that in turn reflects the vitality, complexity and unfolding patterns of ancient, modern and contemporary art in India. All through the year it presents exhibitions and educational programmes and events of unparalleled significance.