“Please don’t eat the paintings!”

That sign might need to be posted in the GreenHill Center for North Carolina Art in downtown Greensboro at an upcoming exhibit that will be all about food – the kind of food that tastes great but isn’t all that great for you.

The new exhibit, called “SWEET,” will be on display at GreenHill from Friday, May 3 through Sunday, July 14.  It will feature sweet and processed foods as the main subject and will portray those foods through the works of various artists.

Designer cupcakes, Twinkies, Frosted Flakes and Tang aren’t usually the subject of high art but this spring and summer at this exhibit in Greensboro they will be.

Greenhill is also using the unusual show as a way to provide art patrons with a little education about healthy eating.  While the colorful works of art will center on foods that are bad for you, there will be associated discussions meant to educate the public about healthy eating and also meant to open people’s eyes about the way foods are marketed in modern society.  For instance, part of the discussion will explore how “designer foods” are fine-tuned by big companies to make everyone constantly crave more.

Toward the end of the exhibit, on Saturday, July 13, there will be a grand finale food and art party for junk food lovers of all ages.  That aptly named “Play With Your Food,” party will have food-based art workshops, cake decorating demonstrations, cupcake contests, vegetable carving events and other activities that will combine art and food.

According to Edie Carpenter, GreenHill’s’ curator, the exhibit will deal with many aspects of food.

“Sweet foods are portrayed by these artists as symbols of pop culture, ephemeral triumphs of the baker’s craft, and magnets for consumer taste buds, engaging visitors in a sensory exploration of food as an object of beauty and temptation,” Carpenter stated of the coming event.

The exhibit will address the sweet and processed foods through a variety of artistic methods including painting, photography and multimedia art.

Painters Rachel Campbell, Bethany Pierce and Stacy Crabil, along with multi-media artists Kristine Baumlier-Faber, Jillian Ohl, Paul Rousso, Robin Frohardt and Ed Bing Lee, will explore the cultural significance of food and the emotions evoked by the taste and aroma of that food.

Baumlier-Faber has said of her work that she hopes it will start people talking about how the food industry influences what people eat and how much they eat.  She has also said that the food industry manipulates consumer tastes in ways that the consumers are largely unaware of.

Asheville-based painter Bethany Pierce’s paintings of desserts will also be on display and she has pointed out that there is a difficulty in painting ice cream because – well, ice cream melts.