If you can get away from the office for lunch once a month in Midtown, you can experience some free culture and perhaps learn something.
The Breman Museum has partnered with the Center for Puppetry Arts and the High Museum of Art for LunchTime Culture, a program between noon and 1 p.m. one Friday per month in which the Midtown cultural institutions combine for a performance, a conversation or a tour from a different perspective.
Each program is free and lasts about 20 minutes and includes a bag lunch to eat during the presentation, leaving enough time during your lunch hour to visit the host museum’s exhibitions.
The most recent LunchTime Culture program Friday, Sept. 15, examined old buildings and parks around Atlanta, as well as the way art and artifacts can preserve history and tell stories.
Held at the Breman, the program focused on the legacy of Atlanta’s Hebrew Orphans’ Home, which opened downtown on Washington Street in 1889. The organization eventually became the Jewish Educational Loan Fund (JELF), the oldest nonprofit in Georgia, which grants interest-free loans to Jewish students from Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia and Florida who are pursuing higher education.
Although the building was demolished in 1974, the organization remains a vital part of the Jewish community, as celebrated in an exhibit at the Breman through December. The LunchTime Culture program looked at artifacts such as a terra-cotta post from the entrance of the home and photos of the orphans roller-skating, playing basketball and taking a field trip to the Loew’s Grand Theatre.
The LunchTime Culture partnership seems to be working, said Ghila Sanders, the acting executive director of the Breman.
Realizing that Atlanta lacked shorter programs requiring a reduced time commitment to expose people to new ideas and connect to their interests, Sanders met with the director of the High about the concept of short daytime programs. The Center for Puppetry Arts, across 18th Street from the Breman, was a natural third partner.
“It’s a true collaborative effort,” Sanders said. “This partnership between cultural organizations demonstrates a true shift from competition to collaboration. That’s a new mindset and honestly how we stay relevant.”
LunchTime Culture launched in July and is scheduled to run monthly through December, with each of the three institutions hosting and presenting two events.
The next program will take place Oct. 20 at the High. Holocaust survivor Henry Friedman will discuss his experience after World War II as a street artist in Italy who made his way to America.
The collaboration among the three organizations fills a need in the community, Sanders said. “We were missing something like this in Atlanta where we look at the neighborhoods and bring them together. We’re focused. We have an eye on history, arts and culture, and LunchTime Culture is programming reflecting that.”