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Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art

Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art

Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art (Ware's Folly)
Historic Augusta, Inc.

Completed in 1818 for the exorbitant sum of $40,000, the Nicolas Ware House, Ware's Folly, is an architectural showplace in Augusta. Nicholas Ware, mayor of Augusta and United States senator, built this grand Federal-style house which now is the home of the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art. The house has a simple four room, center hall plan with four end chimneys and a handsome portico, bays, and oval stairway. The home's fluted pilasters, elegant bay windows, and three-story elliptical staircase were attractions to visitors when it was built and still enthrall tourists today.  

Ware’s Folly served as the elite town home for three important Augusta families of the 19th century. The house belonged to the Nicholas Ware family from 1818 until 1828. The James Gardner family, elite Augusta merchants and professionals, occupied the house from 1830 until 1871. William C. Sibley, an Augusta cotton-mill owner, lived there with his family from 1871 until 1909.

Ware's Folly became home to the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art in 1937 through the generosity of Mrs. Olivia A. Herbert. A wealthy New Yorker who often wintered in Augusta, Mrs. Herbert purchased and renovated the mansion to provide a permanent home for the Augusta Art Club as well as a living memorial to her daughter, Gertrude Herbert Dunn, soon after her death.

The Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, founded in 1937 and housed in Ware's Folly with the Walker-Mackenzie Studio (c. 1907), is the Central Savannah River area's only independent nonprofit visual art school and gallery. The institute offers visual art education opportunities for students of all ages and interests. Quarterly studio classes and workshops are available in a wide range of media, from drawing and painting to photography, weaving, clay, and sculpture.

Plan your visit
The Gertrude Herbert Art Institute is located at 506 Telfair St. within the boundaries of the Augusta Downtown Historic District. It is open Tuesday–Friday, 10:00am to 5:00 pm.  Guided tours by appointment only. Call 706-722-5495. Free. For more information visit the institute's website. The building has been documented under the name Ware-Sibley-Clarke House by the National Park Service's Historic Americans Buildings Survey.
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