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Hidden treasure on display at VISAC Gallery in Trail

Kevin Johnson, the VISAC gallery director, displayed a print of the Trail United Church, a work by artist Dr. Velen Fanderlik.  His prints, which include meticulous scenes of the West Kootenay and his travel abroad, will be on display at the gallery beginning Friday. - Sheri Regnier
Kevin Johnson, the VISAC gallery director, displayed a print of the Trail United Church, a work by artist Dr. Velen Fanderlik. His prints, which include meticulous scenes of the West Kootenay and his travel abroad, will be on display at the gallery beginning Friday.
— image credit: Sheri Regnier

Gail Whitter found quite a treasure trove when browsing through a local thrift shop.

In 2009, Whitter, a local artist, was poking through old boxes in the basement of the Salvation Army Thrift store, when she came across a dusty box of black and white prints.

Whitter was struck by the impressive images and immediately purchased the entire box of artwork, without knowing its true value or historical significance.

She enlisted help from Kevin Johnson, VISAC Gallery artist and director, and through their research, have brought the artist and his work back to life.

“This work hasn’t been seen in over 25 years,” said Johnson.

Fortunately, residents of Greater Trail can finally view the long lost works of local teacher, Dr. Velen Fanderlik on  Friday at 6 p.m., at the VISAC Gallery in downtown Trail.

The exhibit has been aptly titled, “My Journey Ends Here.”

The prints detail Fanderlik’s impressions of the West Kootenay and his international travels.

After surviving World War II, Dr Fanderlik immigrated to Canada and eventually settled in Trail.

In 1955, he began his career teaching latin, history and law at J.L. Crowe High School.

Fanderlik also taught art classes to children and adults throughout the West Kootenay, and became a lifetime honorary member of the Trail Art Club.

“He was known as “Doc Fanderlik” and very well known around town,” said Johnson.

Fanderlik did not have any heirs, and after his death in the 1980’s, not much else is known, said Johnson.

So, the question of how a part of art history in Trail wound up in a basement, forgotten for years, continues to remain an intriguing mystery.

On opening night, a biography of Dr Fanderlik and his art will be presented.

Prints from Dr Fanderlik’s 55 images will be available to purchase for the first time, and average $45 each.

Admission to this exhibit is by donation.

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