From the Memories of Respected Ajeet Cour :
It was the beginning of 1975 and I was getting restless about the absence of sensitivity and space in Delhi for aesthetics : poetry, paintings, theatre, classical dance and music, and our folk traditions. And the colossal insensitive life-styles we were getting cocooned in, making us oblivious of all the pain and poverty which is all around us !
So I and my daughter Arpana Caur donated our personal flat, a large DDA dwelling in D-15, Saket , to open a free school for uneducated young daughters of all the floating labour from Rajasthan, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh involved in colossal construction activity which was going on all around. The aim was to give them basic non-formal education, awareness about health and sanitation, teaching them vocational skills to enable to earn respectable and dignified living.
For all the cultural programmes we hired auditoriums, and were able to introduce unusual talent like the ghazal singer Jagjit Singh and the folk singer Nooran to Delhi audience, way back in 1975, to give only a few examples.
Gradually like-minded prominent writers, painters, journalists, academicians, scholars, theatre artists and cultural activists started joining hands, and the association was formally registered in 1977.
The new building at 4/6, Siri Fort Institutional Area came up with all our ancestral property and Arpana’s paintings, slowly over six-seven years.
In 1995 we moved our activities in our new building.
The aesthetically-designed Academy at 4/6, Siri Fort Institutional Area, is a cultural and social activist institution. Besides several cultural activities, the Academy also undertakes community centred, socially aware, ideologically motivated, perspective-oriented community development programmes among economically backward women from urban slums.
The Academy has two large Art Galleries. These galleries are free for upcoming and talented artists and also for handicapped artists.
Even otherwise, only the electricity charges are paid by the artists. Three Museums are open free to the public daily, Folk and Tribal, Art Museum, Miniature painting Museum and a Museum of Arpana’s works of different periods.
A Free Library and Reading Room; an Amphitheatre for plays and poetry and symposiums; a Research Centre for Visual Arts and Literature; a Bharatanatyam Hall, a Kathak Hall, space and infrastructure for Painting Classes, Art Pottery classes; a Conference Hall for Literary Gatherings, Music Concerts, Plays, Dance Performances, Seminars, Book Release Functions and Discussion Group Meetings, Mushairas, and other important cultural events; infrastructure for Aesthetic Awareness Lectures, a hall for Yoga and Pranayam classes, a hall for Theatre Rehearsals; and a Women’s Empowerment Centre, are the other areas of activity of the Academy.