Short Takes: August/September 2018


Google Lens

Google has come out with a new version of Google Lens in beta. The new version will be built into the camera app, instead of Google Photos. There will also be a real-time finder that will analyze what your camera sees even before you press click. If you point your camera at a poster of a musician, Lens can also start playing a music video. You open up any camera app and Lens will tell you what’s in the image. The image recognition tool can give users more information about things like books, buildings, and works of art. How it works is that you take a photo and the tool will process the pixels through machine learning to provide more details and also provide relevant search tags. Google has more of an eye on retail with this new update to Lens and instead of just identifying clothes, it will also provide you with a shopping link. Lens can also recognize words now so you can copy and paste from the real world into your phone.        


Hot Print

Why Art? by Eleanor Davis

Art can be self-indulgent, goofy, serious, altruistic, evil, expressive or any number of other things. But how can it truly make lasting, positive change? In Why Art?, acclaimed graphic novelist Eleanor Davis (How To Be Happy) unpacks some of these concepts in ways both critical and positive in an attempt to illuminate the highest possible potential an artwork might achieve. Davis leavens her exploration with a sense of humor and a thirst for challenging preconceptions of art worth of Magritte, instantly drawing the reader in as a willing accomplice in her quest. The New York Times Book Review says, “Eccentric and visually inventive, answering all the many questions it raises, Why Art? is about the power that comes from creating. The art that we mold with our own hands shows us how to be strong; it shows us how to live.”



Le Chat Noir!

The Black Cat Picture Show, August 17-19, is an international adjudicated film festival (the only one in Augusta) that provides a platform for independent film artists to exhibit their work in an intimate setting. Friday, film artist reception; Saturday, all-day screenings; Sunday, brunch and more.

For festival passes and more information,





Featuring three billowing tents a-flutter with free-roaming butterflies, the Dunwoody Art and Butterfly Festival transforms this Georgia city just outside of Atlanta into an oasis of beauty. This summer, Dunwoody hosts the event on Saturday, August 11 at Dunwoody Nature Center, located at 5343 Roberts Dr. For more information visit www.

What to Do
Dunwoody is the perfect weekend getaway. Splash around in Wildcat Creek, catch up on a good book in a teepee or in a tree swing and catch a glimpse of a variety of wildlife. Popular outings include the Concert in the Park Series, Friday Night Hikes, and Monarchs and Margaritas. Check out their full list of activities at

Brook Run Park: Indulge in wide open spaces, fresh air, and sunshine at the city’s 102-acre park or shred on a variety of terrain at the skate park. There’s also a two-mile trail loop, an enclosed dog park, and a community garden. If you prefer, beat the heat and stay inside in the heart of Dunwoody Village at Spruill Center for the Arts. If you have been obsessing with Pinterest, consider attending an art class or a gallery visit to reinvigorate your artistic flair. Check out their website for a full list of classes at

Where to Stay
With a stay at Staybridge Suites Perimeter Center East in Dunwoody, you’ll be convenient to everything. Make yourself at home in one of the aparthotel’s rooms featuring kitchens with full-sized refrigerators, freezers, and stovetops. Don’t miss out on the many recreational opportunities, including an outdoor pool, a spa tub, and a fitness center. Guests can catch a ride on the complimentary shuttle, which operates within three miles.

Where to Eat
From upscale bistros to family-friendly fare, Dunwoody’s restaurant scene is a dynamic foodie’s paradise. With an ever-changing selection of places to eat, drink and indulge, it’s easy to find the freshest eats and sweetest treats just outside Atlanta.

Novo Cucina. Novo Cucina introduces a fresh approach to eating Italian. Here, culinary tradition marries innovative casual, making it fun, easy and approachable to eat out – not to mention deliciously. Artisanal pizza, classic pasta plus salads and appetizers pair with a refreshing list of boutique wines and craft cocktails. An array of freshly spun gelato plus an inventive menu of affogato offerings is available anytime. Novo Cucina is a Best of Atlanta winner.  



The Painted Piano
Gary M. Dennis

Augusta Magazine: Can you tell us about the inception of the idea for The Painted Piano Project?

Dennis: “We received a call from St. John United Methodist Church asking if we could use a couple pianos. They described them as being playable and around a 100 years old or more. The timing was pretty good because we’d just finished the “Rhythms” gallery exhibit by Troy Campbell in which he deconstructed an old baby grand piano and made some incredible pieces of art. We decided in the worst case scenario, we could find an artistic expression for these pianos as well and, after seeing painted pianos in other cities, thought we could do the same. We started looking around for funding to commission local artists to do the work and after a sidewalk concert using the old piano, the word got out and we received our first donation of a painted piano from local artist Carmen Moses. Not long afterward the National Endowment for the Arts announced grant funding for the project to create more and to curate a series of community concerts at each piano. We should be releasing the concert schedule through our website in August.”

Augusta Magazine: Where will these pianos be located and how many are there?

Dennis: “There are a total of six pianos funded through the NEA grant, but it’s taken on a little bit of a life of its own and we’ve received sponsorship for other pianos, including a James Brown Tribute Piano sponsored by Turner Keyboards. So, there will be at least six, but likely a few more as they get out.

It looks like three of the pianos will live in the partially covered areas outside of The Jessye Norman School of The Arts on Green Street, one will live in the lobby of the Augusta Richmond County Municipal building, one will be located at the JB White building in the Book Tavern covered area and one more will find its home at the Miller Theater.”

Augusta Magazine: Describe your background in the arts.

Dennis: “My background in the arts is very informal but fairly broad. I’ve been involved with community theatre, founded a few improv groups and participated in different capacities and roles with multiple organizations. Some of the roles include set design and build, director, actor, writer and producer. Some of the organizations include Le Chat Noir, Schrodinger’s Cat, Augusta State University, the Augusta Players, Richmond County Board of Education, Fort Gordon Child Youth School Services, The Boys and Girls Clubs of The CSRA, The Greater Augusta Arts Council and the Georgia Assembly of Community Arts Agencies. I have a Bachelor of Arts from Chaminade University of Honolulu and a master’s Degree in Business (MBA) from Augusta State University.”

Augusta Magazine: Why do you believe the world needs art or in this case music?

Dennis: Music and art make our experiences deeper, richer and make where we live better than it would be without it.




Swamp Saturday Hike at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park.

Enjoy a guided, leisurely hike through approximately 2.5 miles of nature park trails. Children and adults will enjoy viewing the variety of wildlife and learning about the diverse plant life and importance of urban wetland ecology. Register by calling (706) 396-1410.      

The Augusta Market.

Every Saturday through November 17 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 15 8th St. Spend your Saturday morning browsing the best of Augusta’s local offerings. Shop for local fruits, veggies, honey, baked goods and coffee along with locally made art, home decor, accessories and lots more at the 8th Street Riverwalk entrance. During summer months, kids can play in the fountain. Admission is free.        

Article appears in the August/September 2018 issue of Augusta Magazine.

Have feedback or a story idea? Our publisher would love to hear from you!

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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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