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Rosemount residents Cathy and David Whiteman will turn entries from their book, "The Fruitful Season" into an art exhibit next month at the Benedictine Center in Maplewood.

Local mother-son pair earns art exhibit

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A project that began with pain and frustration has opened an interesting door for a mother and son from Rosemount.

For two months starting April 1 Cathy and David Whiteman will display their art at the Benedictine Center in Maplewood. The exhibit, called The Fruitful Season -- Prayers for the Autumn of Life, features David's photos and Cathy's writing, taken from a book of the same name that the pair published in 2007.

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At that time, Cathy was suffering from a long-term undiagnosed illness that sent her to the Mayo Clinic for six weeks. David, a digital artist and 3-D animator, was unemployed and dealing with the frustration of trying to find work.

Whiteman turned to prayer to help with her struggles, and as she recovered she found herself wanting to create something that could help other people through similarly difficult times. She recruited her son, a longtime photo hobbyist, to help. He took pictures, mostly nature scenes around Rosemount and Eagan, and she wrote devotions to accompany them. The photos were all digitally manipulated so they look like watercolor paintings.

The project was never intended as a work of art, but the book, and a willingness to ask the right question at the right time, is what led to the Benedictine Center exhibit.

A bookstore at the Benedictine Center sells "A Fruitful Season," and when Cathy went to check on it there she noticed works from local artists on the walls. She asked if the center would be interested in displaying work from her book, and the center said yes.

The rest has just been details. Cathy and David have had to find the best images for the show and get them ready for display.

Things are taking shape now, and mother and son are both looking forward to the show.

"It should be fun. It should be interesting to see them on the wall together," David said.

Cathy and David have talked about producing a second book, but David might already have an opportunity for another project. The Benedictine Center has expressed an interest in displaying photos he took while representing the Children's Culture Connection teaching art to adolescent girls in the slums of India.

That's a refreshing change for David, who had tried several times without luck to get those photos displayed in several galleries.

"Who knew I was big with the nuns?" David said.

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