Irrespective of whether you are from Kolkata or not, you have to visit The Academy of Fine Arts in Rabindra Sadan area. The place is historically and culturally intrinsic to Kolkata and forms a huge part of its art landscape.
Founded in 1933 by Lady Ranu Mukherjee, it is one of the oldest fine arts societies in the country and a must-visit spot for all. You would be surprised to know that it started off as a room rented out by Indian Museum and annual exhibitions would be held in the adjoining balcony. The Academy (as Kolkatans fondly call it), also houses Nandan, a government-run single screen cinema hall. We all remember going to Nandan and buying tickets at massively cheap rates. It still starts from INR 40, if you're taking the rear stall!
There are about eight galleries on its ground floor, wherein you can see glimpses of the works of the best contemporary artists. There are some famous paintings here like 'Saat Bhai Champa' by Gaganendranath Tagore and Shiva with Ganesh by Jamini Roy, among others. The Academy is where culturally conscious people engage.
But the theatre performances here is what makes the Academy really popular. A hotbed for theatre groups, both budding and professional, the Academy is the focal point of all star names and the biggest theatre stalwarts have graced the Academy with stellar performances -- be it Swapnasandhani, Padatik, Bohurupee or Nandikar.