It is based in the heart of the old historic town, under the Venetian wall and the Archaeological Museum.
The Municipality of Rethymnon bought it in 1970s, and in 1992 it became a Gallery. In 1995 Rethymnon was included in the National Cultural Network of Towns which led to the establishment of the Centre for Contemporary Art orienting the Gallery's activities to contemporary art.
A new space that supplemented the old “L. Kanakakis” Municipal Gallery and the Centre of Contemporary Art, prompted in the creation of the new Contemporary Art Museum that acquired Crete. The old Venetian building that constituted in the beginning of the 20th century one from the first industrial spaces of the island, with the factory of soap that it entertained up to decade ’70, today constitutes a modern museum high specification space, roughly 1000 sq.m.
It has a permanent collection of approximately 500 works of contemporary Greek artists, which covers a wide range of the contemporary Greek art world from 1950 to date. The works of L. Kanakakis (approx. 50) were donated to the Gallery.
The collection includes adequate samples of art of the second half of the 20th century, from abstraction and geometry to neo-expressionism, new representation arts, minimalism, object in space, sculpture and combined sculpture and painting, installations in space and settings, conceptual art, photography, computer processed works of art.
The Contemporary Art Museum of Crete has developed significant activities in the field of periodic exhibitions at local, national and international levels in co-operation with numerous institutions at home and abroad. All events are organised together with other concurrent events (lectures, training programs, speeches, seminars, etc.). The activities of the CCA – «L.Kanakakis» Municipal Gallery are completed with the publication of catalogues and other printed training or information material.
At the same time, throughout the duration of exhibitions there are organised tours for children, young people and adults on a daily basis.
In 1996 Rethymnon was included in the second programme of the Ministry of Culture for the purpose of establishing Visual Arts Workshops.
An interesting building in the old town, was selected for that purpose. In this framework, there are classes on pottery (adults - children), painting (adults - children), History of Art (building of "L.Kanakakis" Municipal Gallery - adults).