Gertrude Hebert Institute of Art is housed in historic Ware’s Folly (c. 1818) and the Walker-Mackenzie Studio (c. 1909). Ware’s Folly, also known as the Ware-Sibley-Clark House, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The grand structure features Adamesque-style detailing on the interior and exterior, a floating spiral staircase, and intricately detailed fanlights, mouldings, fireplaces, and window and door surrounds. The home is considered one of the finest examples of Federal Style architecture in the United States.
The structure was home to several distinguished Augusta families including the Ware Family, the Sibley Family, and the Gardner Family until Olivia Herbert, an Augusta winter colonist, purchased the home in 1937, saving it from forthcoming demolition. After renovations, Mrs. Herbert donated the structure to the Augusta Art Club to provide a permanent home for the club as well as a living memorial to her daughter, Gertrude Herbert Dunn, who had recently died. The Art Club promptly assumed the name, the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, and a new era began. Today the structure’s architectural features shine much as they did in the 1800s displaying the artisanship and detail of a bygone era in contrast to the contemporary artwork exhibitions, thereby creating a unique visual experience.
In 2001, the Institute completed renovations to its education annex, the Walker-Mackenzie Studio, located directly behind Ware’s Folly. This facility added 4,000 square feet of ADA-compliant classroom space and has allowed the organization to significantly expand its visual arts curriculum. The Walker-Mackenzie Studio also provides additional gallery space for student and faculty exhibitions. In 2005, the Institute leased studio space in adjacent Columbia County to bring visual arts instruction to this growing community.
For over 75 years, the Institute has remained the only independent visual art school in the Central Savannah River Area that offers studio art classes and workshops on an ongoing basis for art enthusiasts of all ages, from beginners to professionals. What began as a club for art hobbyists has developed into a preeminent visual arts school and contemporary art gallery.
Click here to view the HABS (Historic American Building Survey) report and images.