Founded in 1973 by a group of Atlanta photographers, Atlanta Contemporary was originally called "Nexus" and began as a storefront cooperative gallery supported by member dues and staffed by volunteers. In 1976, the organization leased an old elementary school and began to expand its programs, formalize its infrastructure, and house a number of resident organizations. In 1984, the name was changed to Nexus Contemporary Art Center to reflect the organization’s mission and role in the community. Nexus Press, dedicated to creating unique publications by invited artists, was begun, and studio spaces for working artists became a core part of the organization. In 2000, Nexus was renamed Atlanta Contemporary Art Center.