What does blue taste like? It’s chilled, berry-infused and bubbly. It’s sweet and nutty, with a slight crunch.

At least, that’s how I tasted the first installment of painter and baker Leah Rosenberg’s new project, “Color for the People,” which debuts this month at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation. Rosenberg wants Charlotte to taste a spectrum of colors.

Each week, the artist-in-residence will paint the McColl Center’s wide-open project space on the first floor a color she discovered within the Charlotte landscape. The gallery walls and furniture will be covered in that color to establish an immersive color-field painting and meditative space.

Then, on select Thursdays from September through November, Rosenberg will host a Color Bar, during which she will serve a cocktail, a savory snack and a sweet snack to reflect her featured color of the week.

In her past as a baker, Rosenberg, who hails from San Francisco, said, “I was making cakes and food with the same intention as I was a painting on the wall, but the response was different.”

She saw that one was eaten and delighted in, while another was hung on the wall or languished in the dark.

She now aims to make creations for people to delight in, in some way. Visitors will get to taste, touch and consume, and even walk away with something: a limited-edition serving tray crafted by the artist.

Rosenberg walks around Charlotte daily to explore its colors. She found blue, the first color, when she first arrived in Charlotte. The color was part of McColl Center’s banner poem “Betwixt,” by John W. Love, Jr., that hung on the exterior of the building earlier this summer.

The poem began: “The blue hour approached with the bloody maroon of a skinned knee.”

“Blue” was one of the first words that popped out to Rosenberg. She said she saw her use of the color as a way to tether herself to the McColl Center upon arriving and to honor the work of an artist who came here before her.

For the media preview of Color Bar Tuesday, she painted the gallery walls and stools in the room a hazy-sky blue, and crafted a cocktail featuring Prosecco and butterfly pea flower syrup, along with a mix of savory and sweet snacks including poppy seed goat cheese, lavender shortbread, blue macaroons and matcha chia seed pudding with blueberry jelly.

“Because I’m active in finding the colors, I kind of wanted the people coming in to also play,” she added. “And if there’s a way to kind of interact and not just be like, oh, blue.”

It all starts with a taste.

Register to join one or more editions of Color Bar

When: 6-8 p.m. on Sept. 21, Oct. 5, Oct. 12, Oct. 19, Oct. 26, Nov. 2, Nov. 9, Nov. 16, Nov. 30

Where: McColl Center for Art + Innovation

Cost: $5 McColl Center Members / $7 Non-members. Limited to two tickets per person. Get tickets here.

Photos: Katie Toussaint

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