Things to do

The new, free way to press reset on your lunch break uptown

It’s easy to get in a rut with lunches during the work week. Either you spend $13 and too much time on a heaping salad at a restaurant for lunch with a friend, or hunch over a Tupperware at your desk alone and power through so you have time to fit in your workout.

I always feel crunched for time but crave a break. So I’ve made one resolution for next week, and that is to clear out Thursday’s lunch time on my calendar for the inaugural Art Break event hosted by Levine Center for the Arts.

Why I’ll be there:

(1) To get away from work.

You can love what you do and still get fuzzy-brained and restless by midday.

To shake up the routine the third Thursday of every month, volunteer docents are leading free Art Break tours at three museums beginning March 17: The Mint Museum Uptown, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture.

(2) It’s only 30 minutes.

Each tour begins at noon. And you get to pick the museum you want to visit.

(3) To press the ‘reset’ button.

It’s a wash of relief to go from staring at your computer screen like a zombie to staring at a work of art like some kind of enlightened being.

You get that chance once a month with Art Break, which will switch themes every three months so you can attend each of the three participating museums for every theme. First up is “Trending Now? What’s Happening? What’s Hot?” with Art Break dates of March 17, April 21 and May 19. The “Zoom In-Zoom Out: Changing Perspectives” theme will stretch across June 16, July 21 and Aug. 18.

Docents lead the tours — not only to share details of the exhibition, but to stimulate conversation among attendees.

(4) Freebies are the greatest.

In the way that free food always seems to taste better, I think free glimpses of art are more satisfying. You’re not looking for customer satisfaction the way you do when you purchase a ticket for an experience — you’re just soaking it in.

What to expect to see:

At the Gantt Cetner: Current exhibitions on view until June 26 include “1960Now,” inspired by the Civil Rights Movement; “Art of a New Deal: African-American Artists in the WPA,” exploring six artists who were employed by the WPA; and “Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts,” featuring costumes, videos and set pieces from the dance company.


At the Mint: Current exhibitions on view until March 27 include “Modern Musings: European Works on Paper,” featuring 19th and 20th century European works; and “New York to Nebo: The Artistic Journey of Eugene Thomason,” a retrospective of artist Eugene Thomason’s work. “Viva Moschino” is on view until April 3 and spotlights Italian designer Franco Moschino’s work between 1983 and 1994.


At the Bechtler: The current exhibition on view until June 19 is “The Art of the Print,” showing rare examples of printmaking methods. “The House That Modernism Built” will be on view beginning March 24, detailing how modern aesthetic influenced lives during the 20th century.


(5) To meet people.

Anyone can pop in for one of these tours. I like that an observation about art can become an ice breaker, rather than a comment over wine or beer.

And as Christopher Lawing, vice president of programming and research at the Bechtler, put it, “This is the next wave, if you will, with partnerships and collaborations between all the LCA museums as we continue to brand this campus as a unique experience.”

So let’s take a break and have an experience, Charlotte.

Photo: Katie Toussaint