The construction of the gallery building started on 21 January 1893 and finished in 1912 as the high court building and was officially opened by Kedah Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim of Kedah as the earliest modern government building in Alor Setar. By 1931, the high court had completed their relocation to a new building beside the Federal Building, the original building was repurposed to accommodate the Audit Department, State Treasury and British Advisory Office, and would later be used to house the Public Works Department and Sewerage and Drainage Department. To mark the silver jubilee of Sultan Abdul Halim in 1983, the building was converted into an art gallery and was officiated and opened to the public by the Sultan on 25 July 1983.
Originally design by architect Muhammad bin Lebai Thambi of the Kedahan Public Works Department,the building adopts an eclectic combination of neoclassical and Sino-Portuguese architectures, with strong Palladian motifs and colonnades from the former mixed with Baroque ornamentation and extensive use of arches from the latter; of note is the presence of the Kedahan shield in the ornamentation over every arch of the building.The building is fronted by an open court comprising a public square and park.
The gallery displays various art works made by Kedah people, such as painting, wood carving and calligraphy. The gallery is accessible within walking distance north west of Alor Setar railway station.
Other attractions nearby Kedah State Art Gallery