The Shanghai Street Artspace was initiated by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC) in 1999. With the assistance of the Home Affairs Bureau and Lands Department, the HKADC has rented the space on G/F at 404 Shanghai Street as a visual art exhibition hall for a nominal rent of $1 Hong Kong Dollars per year. The HKADC then commissioned local art organisations to manage the art space under a two-year lease.

Previously awarded art organisations include Museum of Site (MOST), Art Map, Department of Creative Arts, The Hong Kong Institute of Education (OUT: HKIED Arts) (2005–2006), 404 (2007–2008), Woofer Ten (2009–2015) and Centre for Community Cultural Development (CCCD, who subsequently organised the space under the name Green Wave Art) (2016–2019).