The organisation was founded in 1985 and has remained at the iconic Gertrude Street address since its inception. Previously called Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, and earlier 200 Gertrude Street, Gertrude Contemporary's programs include exhibitions across three galleries, studio residencies for local and international artists, a visiting curators program, the Gertrude Contemporary and Art & Australia Emerging Writers Program and an education program.
The Gertrude Contemporary Studio Program hosts 16 artists for a period of two years.
The mission statement of Gertrude Contemporary states; "Gertrude Contemporary is valued nationally and respected internationally as a dynamic centre for the production and presentation of contemporary art. With the artist placed firmly at the centre of our community, we foster a culture of risk, collaboration and critical-thinking to generate innovative programs that engage audiences in creative exchange."
The current Director of Gertrude Contemporary is Emma Crimmings. Previous Directors of the organisation are Alexie Glass, Louise Neri, Rose Lang, Max Delany and Samantha Comte.