The University of Warwick commissioned the building of an arts centre in 1970 with the aid of an anonymous local benefactor. The building was completed in 1974 by architects Renton, Howard, Wood Associates. A redevelopment in 1997 added a glass atrium above the contemporary galleries and brought more light to the building complex which is now the Mead Gallery that holds two exhibitions a year.
The collection dates from the founding of the University in 1965. Works include 1960s colour field paintings by Jack Bush and Gene Davis and a trail of contemporary sculptures across the campus. There is a contemporary art trail throughout the Sculpture Park (open to the public) that includes notable works by Ian Davenport, Peter Randall-Page, Richard Deacon and Toby Paterson. Most recently the Unversity of Warwick Art Collection acquired, with support of the Contemporary Art Society, the third and final edition of a bronze sculpture Breadfruit (Moraceae), 2021 by 2022 Turner Prize winner Veronica Ryan.