Short Takes: April 2015

STfaces1b-a0ba9aed$$ For Kids

Kam Kyzer

As a teenager, Kam Kyzer tutored kids one-on-one at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the CSRA. “Volunteering and participating and supporting the community—it was something that was like brushing your teeth [in my family],” she says. 

Fast forward about 20 years and Kyzer is still giving back—but on a much larger scale. The Augustan, who held the executive director position in the local club for nearly nine years, is now in the role of national vice president of foundation relations for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. In that position she’s responsible for raising $10 million
in new dollars and managing $8 million in existing funds for 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs, both nationally and internationally. 

That’s 4 million children in local communities—including her own—who she has the potential of helping. It’s a big job and a challenging one—but also one she absolutely loves. “I have a job that’s incredibly fulfilling and rewarding,” she says. “It’s all about exposing [these kids] and helping them see the world is so much bigger than what they see outside their doorstep, and that they are so much bigger and more capable than what they see outside their doorstep.”

It’s a job she also does every day as a parent to three children. She and her husband Brian have made a point of taking their children on trips to explore the world—including one last year to South Africa. And while Kyzer herself travels frequently to Washington, D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles to meet with multimillion-dollar foundations, she still loves best those times when she can interact with local communities. In fact, one of her favorite memories at the Boys & Girls Club is Masters related. Thanks to the Augusta National Junior Pass program, the CSRA club takes three girls and three boys to the course every year. “Undoubtedly, reading the thank you notes written by the kids of their experience at the tournament was my favorite thing of the year to do,” she says. “It absolutely just makes you stop and shed tears…to give these kids an opportunity they would never have [otherwise].” 

ST travel 2Have Art Will Travel

On the Road With the Morris

it may be one of augusta’s best-kept secrets—but not to lovers of fine art. For the past 13 years, the Morris Museum of Art has hosted a series of exclusive art excursions to environs both near and far, giving Augustans an opportunity to experience some of the nation’s finest museums, led by Morris Museum staffers.

This year’s lineup includes a weekend in colonial Williamsburg, Va.; a day trip to the Steffen Thomas Museum in Madison, which honors the artist’s paintings and sculptures and is one of the nation’s only museums dedicated to a single artist; and the highly anticipated Director’s Trip, led by Museum Director Kevin Grogan, which this year explores the art and culture of the city of Chicago.

Friday-Sunday, May 8–10: Williamsburg, Va.
Travel to Williamsburg to view historic sites and the new exhibition A Rich and Varied Culture: The Material World of the Early South. This wide-ranging exhibit celebrates the remarkable arts and antiques that were created in or imported to the Chesapeake, Carolina Lowcountry and Southern Backcountry. Lodging at Williamsburg Woodlands and general admission to Colonial Williamsburg, Historic Jamestown and Historic Yorktown are included. $549 per person, double occupancy. $699, single occupancy. Reservations and deposit of half the total cost of the trip are due by April 1. Airfare is not included. 30 attendees maximum. For reservations contact Blake Leverett at 706-828-3803 or [email protected].

Tuesday, June 9. Steffen Thomas Museum.
After enjoying an early morning curator-led tour of Steffen Thomas Rediscovered at the Morris, travel to Madison, Ga., to visit the Steffen Thomas Museum of Art and meet Lisa Conner, the late artist’s daughter. Members, $45; nonmembers, $60. Transportation, boxed lunch and admission fees included. 50 attendees maximum. Prepaid reservations required. To register call 706-828-3867.

October 2015. Director’s Trip to Chicago.
Dates and details coming soon. 30 attendees maximum. Visit for updates.

ST Music 4Music: Chris Ndeti

Totally Immersed in Music

by Mark Hodges

When trying to describe singer/songwriter Chris Ndeti, it becomes quickly evident that she is difficult to categorize or pigeonhole. She’s a walking music anomaly who takes pride in her very diverse musical background. It is also fair to say that her life is immersed in music all the time, both personally and professionally. When she’s not out performing, she is involved in a full-time career as a music therapist, working with Alzheimer’s patients and administering the healing power of music (see the August/September 2014 issue of AugustaMagazine “The Medicine of Music”).

Ndeti (pronounced with a silent “N”) was classically trained on violin from age 11. By college, she branched out from that genre and began
to play violin in jam bands, focusing on rock and funk as her preferred musical expression.

After moving to Augusta in 2008, she became the front person for the jam band Mama Says. Mama Says made a regional splash for several years, but went on hiatus last year. Since then, Ndeti has established herself as a solo singer/songwriter in the Augusta area and was voted the Best Female Vocalist in AugustaMagazine’s “Best of Augusta” readers’ poll in 2014.

Ndeti has now traded the violin for acoustic guitar. She describes her playing style as percussive and aggressive and her voice as gritty and downhome with a bluesy rock style, in the manner of Janis Joplin or Bonnie Raitt.

Currently, she is finishing up a solo album that showcases her vocals as well as her skill on guitar and violin. It will also feature some of her former Mama Says bandmates.

ST 5 faves5 Faves

Barry White

As president/CEO of the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau, Barry White has the inside track on Augusta’s must-see attractions—evidenced by his recent receipt of the Larry Allen Tourism Leadership Award, presented by Gov. Nathan Deal this past September. So we asked him:

What are your five “Insider” Augusta attractions?

Augusta’s great outdoors

“The Augusta Canal’s popularity continues growing, but few make the clearing a destination—yet. Bike, walk or run along the towpath a short two miles from Lake Olmstead to a peaceful spot on the banks of the Savannah River. Spread a blanket, enjoy a picnic or just sit in the grass and watch the river roll by. If exercise is not your thing, visit the Canal Discovery Center and take a boat tour.”

My favorite neighborhood pub

“The Fox’s Lair in Olde Towne is a quaint neighborhood pub with occasional live local music.  Don’t take a large party with you; it’s quaint.” 

Local theater

“I highly recommend the Schrodinger’s Cat comedy improv troupe (catch them every First Friday at 8 p.m.) or any production at Le Chat Noir in downtown Augusta.”

Augusta’s history

“The Augusta Museum of History features James Brown and golf exhibits, to name a few. Learn about Augusta’s heritage as a winter resort destination long before the tournament put us on the international map. Historic tours also run an expanded schedule during Masters week and depart from the Augusta Museum of History. Also check out Woodrow Wilson’s Boyhood Home.”

Southern cuisine

“Those of us who live in the Deep South often take Southern cuisine for granted. The meat and two at Café 209 will make you happy, no matter where you’re from. Or visit any of our many other local, chef-owned restaurants.”

ST GetawaysGetaways

Greenville, S.C.

Why Go: CBS This Morningrecently ranked the city among the top places to visit in the world—along with Iceland, Cuba and Egypt. Why?Referring to Greenville as the “new Austin,” CBS travel editor Peter Greenberg points to the city’s rapidly growing dining scene, biking and hiking opportunities and numerous musical and cultural events—all at affordable prices.

What To Do: Visitors can jump feet first into a wide variety of adventures, from urban outings to mountain escapes. Go “bootlegging” with a moonshine making class ( or enjoy a tasting at one of the city’s craft breweries, take a spin around the BMW Performance track in nearby Spartanburg ( and tour BMW’s Zentrum Museum ( or explore the 18-mile Swamp Rabbit Trail, a greenway system that runs along the Reedy River (  

Where To Stay: Greenville offers a number of hotels with familiar names, but if you’re looking for something more local, try downtown’s new Swamp Rabbit Inn (www.swamprabbitinn), a European-style, family-friendly B&B, two blocks from Swamp Rabbit Trail, that offers a fleet of bikes for rent onsite.

Where To Eat: With more than 600 restaurants, opportunities abound. Insiders suggest Adam Cooke’s Restaurant 17 (formerly at Blackberry Farm), Anthony Grey’s Bacon Brothers (who was with Art Smith in Atlanta) or Passerelle Bistro. Other classic local and tourist favorites include the Lazy Goat, American Grocery, Tupelo Honey, Soby’s New South Cuisine and Stella’s Southern Bistro. 

Distance From Augusta: About 114 miles or 2 hours and 20 minutes

ST game changersGame Changers

This art-purveying duo goes beyond the  traditional gallery experience by pairing art lovers with interactive events that breathe fresh life into the fine arts.

Augustans Molly McDowell and Mary Hull Palmer of Outside the Box Fine Art were recently included on Southern Living magazine’s list of 50 People Who Are Changing the South in 2015. The two art entrepreneurs launched OTB Fine Art in 2013 as a membership-based service that brings collectors together with fine artist through exclusive travel and social events that extend far beyond the basic gallery opening or talk. In addition to opportunities to meet artists and purchase their art, members are invited to intimate parties, architectural and gallery tours in metropolitan locales throughout the U.S.

Also included on the Southern Living list are up-and-coming restaurateurs, writers, musicians and other cultural innovators across the South. For the complete list, visit:



Before she broke into journalism at a time when the field was dominated by men, Judy Woodruff was an Augusta girl. Born in Tulsa, Okla., to a career army officer, young Judy and her family settled in Georgia in the early ’60s, where she graduated high school and was even crowned Young Miss Augusta 1963. Today she’s a widely respected political news correspondent, currently co-anchoring the PBS NewsHour.

ST run with artAre You Ready…Get Set…Go!


Dip dyed T-shirts, whipped cream on noses and relay races…

Those are just a few of the playful activities Kath Girdler Engler offered local children during her Run With Art camps. That same infectious spirit of fun will be part of the inaugural 5K Run With Art, held in Engler’s memory on Saturday, April 18.

The event will feature a 5K run in downtown Augusta, starting at HealthSouth/Walton Rehabilitation Hospital (a presenting sponsor), a one-mile fun run and a mini Run With Art camp, featuring many of the same games and activities Engler shared with her campers over the years. 

The Run With Art event is being held in conjunction with Walton Foundation for Independence’s Undercover Artists Show fundraiser, which takes place the preceding Thursday, April 16—with both events benefiting the foundation’s camp programs, including Camp To Be Independent and Walton Winter Weekend.

Engler was a longtime supporter of the Walton Foundation and the Undercover Artists Show and this inaugural 5K honors causes very close to her heart—art, fitness and children. For more information or to register,

ST Deja VuDéjà Vu All Over Again

One of Augusta’s most historic hotels is getting a new look just in time for Masters. The Summerville icon on the Hill is undergoing a $6 million renovation that will restore it to its 1900s splendor, but with modern amenities, according to new owners Atlanta-based Partridge Inn Holdings LLC and management group NorthPointe Hospitality Management LLC. 

The boutique hotel will also join Hilton Worldwide’s new Curio brand, which showcases one-of-a-kind properties around the U.S., including Diplomat Resort & Spa Hollywood in Florida, Providence Biltmore in Rhode Island, SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino in Nevada, the Franklin Hotel Chapel Hill in North Carolina and the Highland Dallas in Texas.

Guest rooms will feature sleek gray walls, deep-toned woods, pure white linens, rich textures and clean lines,while the hotel’s most recent butter yellow exterior will return to ivory white, its original 1800s color. 

The hotel is bringing back Executive Chef Dominic Simpson, who directed the inn’s dining operations from 2008 to 2010. Chef Dominic will serve up new menu items such as pork cheeks and braised short ribs along with some old favorites, including his popular buttermilk fried chicken and shrimp and grits. The hotel’s popular Sunday brunch will return after the Masters Tournament. 

This article appears in the April 2015 issue of Augusta Magazine.

RSS Augusta Magazine’s Front Porch

  • Episode 11: Jay Jefferies
    Jay Jefferies stops by to deliver the weather and much more!
  • Episode 10 - Nesia Wright
    We had the pleasure of sitting down with Nesia Wright, owner and CEO of the Georgia Soul Basketball Team. Ashlee and Nesia discuss life as the owner of a basketball team, retirement and more.
  • Episode 9: Venus Morris Griffin
    Venus Morris Griffin, one of the top real estate agents in the Augusta area, stops by our front porch to talk about her success and her upcoming book. This episode is sure to set a fire in you to go for your dreams!
  • Episode 8: Michael Romano
    Michael Romano, self-proclaimed carbohydrate king and executive pastry chef for Edgar's Hospitality Group stopped by our front porch to chat with Ashlee.


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