In the beginning…

In 1998, Derek left his hometown of Missoula, Montana and headed north to Bigfork intending to open a small frame shop. Twenty-five years later, in addition to offering the finest custom picture framing available anywhere, FoR Fine Art has become one of the premier fine art galleries in the west, with two locations in Montana.

In February 2017 Derek relocated the original gallery from Bigfork to a historic building on Central Avenue in the heart of the Old Town District in Whitefish, 40 minutes north of the old location. The Whitefish location quadrupled the wall space in a series of rooms allowing for both expansive vistas and intimate corners to showcase the artwork collection. FoR Fine Art shows almost exclusively original works created by both emerging and established artists with a connection to the wild places surrounding the galleries; mediums include paint, glass, bronze, photography and wood, and every artist FoR shows has representation because one or more of the team has had a visceral reaction to their creations.

In 2021 FoR reopened in Bigfork in the historic Kootenai Galleries building on Electric Avenue.   The framing aspect of the gallery continues to thrive in the Montana locations with an ever-expanding selection of unique framing materials, an innovative flair for design, and the knowledge to best preserve and protect every artwork or artifact. The galleries also feature a carefully-curated collection of secondary market pieces – works that have come from private holdings and are available to enrich your personal collection and feed your soul. These are primarily works by significant artists from the Old and New West – from Charlie Russell to Russell Chatham, this ever-changing exhibit is always worth a visit.

Derek Vandeberg – Founder, President, Master Framer

In 1993, Derek Vandeberg walked into a gallery in Missoula, Montana to buy a wedding present for a friend and walked out with a job as a picture framer. Ten years as a bicycle mechanic and apprentice framebuilder gave Derek the ability to construct nearly anything and developed in him an abiding love for creating things. 30 years later, after 25 years at the helm of FoR Fine Art, Derek still spends every workday in one of the galleries and can still be found on occasion in the back designing or building picture frames. While his evolution as a gallery owner has been a fluid journey, one facet has always remained a constant – Derek is a passionate advocate for the artists he represents. FoR Fine Art represent artists and displays their work because Derek realizes the vision and understands the message that artist is working to convey; he endeavors to share that with both ardent collectors and casual visitors to the gallery. When he’s not in the gallery Derek can be found on a bicycle or in a kayak, exploring Glacier National Park and the wild places in Montana with his wife, Elizabeth and their rescue dog Kootenay. Derek is an avid reader and an accomplished cook specializing in the Italian recipes from his mother’s heritage, and one day soon he’ll build himself another bicycle, time allowing.

Elizabeth Vandeberg

Elizabeth has been helping behind the scenes at FoR Fine Art for quite some time, but “officially” joined the team in the summer of 2018. With a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Montana and nearly a decade in the web industry as a Project Manager, Elizabeth brings a unique set of skills to the team. She focuses on keeping the gallery organized and does all things tech related.
When Elizabeth is not in the gallery, she is passionate about being outside! She recently fell in love with mountain biking and continues to enjoy hiking, kayaking, cycling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and camping. She is always scheming about a new adventure with her husband Derek and their beloved trash panda, Kootenay.

Tula Thompson

Growing up in Greensboro N.C., Tula loved her time at the barn with her horse and competing, successfully, in hunter jumper competitions across the south. Little did she know that her annual family visits to Montana to see her mother’s relatives in Sydney, or later her cousins in Seeley Lake, eventually would lead her to a home on the Swan River outside Bigfork, MT. Tula is married, with three daughters, four grandsons, three horses and an adopted mammoth donkey, Darla. With her husband Michel, she splits time between their home in northwest Montana and several winter months in Tucson, AZ, where they enjoy hiking, horseback riding and travel. Tula’s entrepreneurial experience began in her early 20’s in North Carolina, buying, selling and trading antique furniture, art and collectibles. Later, in the early 1980’s, Tula partnered with her parents in the metal building insulation business. Over the next 20+ years, from the headquarters in Kansas City, she expanded the operations to 11 manufacturing facilities across the U.S., and her company became a leading national provider of insulation products. When the family sold the business in 2004, Tula agreed to continue as national sales director, but she also was able to relocate to the site of her childhood visits and fond memories, northwest Montana. She and her husband soon developed an appreciation for western fine art, honed by annual treks to the Charlie Russell auction in Great Falls. While traveling to Kenya in 2012, Tula made a personal commitment to support a local village (Mbitini) in fostering better living conditions and educational opportunities, particularly for women and children. She returns to Kenya every other year to support clean water, library, and medical initiatives. Most recently Tula has acquired a minority interest in FoR Fine Art, where she hopes to share her enthusiasm for western art. Combining her partner’s history in the industry, his technical framing expertise and his relationships and knowledge of contemporary art with her love of classic western fine art, they hope to add a new dimension to the Whitefish and northwest Montana art scene.

Bryce Bennett

With his BFA in Studio Arts with a concentration in Photography, combined with his experience as a photo lab technician, Bryce adds yet another layer of art industry knowledge to our diverse and experienced team. When not at the gallery, Bryce can be found on an adventure with Stanley (Dutch Shepherd), or pursuing new limits on two wheels.

Miriam Genheimer

Miriam first came to Montana to work in the Many Glacier valley, and after three summers spent in the park, she couldn’t help but move to the area. In 2019 she started dog sitting for Tula, and next thing she knew she was the part time sales associate at the gallery! She has been part of the FoR Fine Art team for over two years now, and currently lives in SW Colorado with her partner Austin and her dog Ramen. Miriam is a violinist and loves biking, Formula 1, and homemade pizza — although she spends most of her time throwing the ball for Ramen.

Karen Kimball

After spending 30 years working in Los Angeles, Karen and her husband, Bob, retired and moved to Montana, where they had been vacationing for twenty years. They built a new home and then had one last big adventure by traveling to Bosnia in 1999 and working for the US State Department and the United Nations in the war torn country of former Yugoslavia. During their year abroad, they traveled extensively and eventually returned to Montana, where they pursued their interests of hiking, skiing, fishing and traveling. Karen became involved in Special Olympics Montana and recruited volunteers for the Special Olympics Montana Winter Games, held annually in Whitefish, for twenty years. She later volunteered at Kalispell Regional Hospital and eventually approached Derek about being part of the gallery team. Karen is a life long lover of art and enjoys the entire gallery team and relishes the opportunity to meet new artists. She continues to pursue her passions of hiking and traveling.

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Kim Crawford

Kim joined the team after coming in to purchase art and asking if we needed help a few days a week. Originally from Michigan, she then went for warmer climates and lived in Florida and Southern California. She spent a decade soaking up diverse cultures while living in Tokyo, Shanghai, and Singapore. Kim’s decision to forego big cities and try out the small-town life in Northwestern Montana has been a success! She’s open to almost every new activity and has been enjoying hiking, mountain biking, and is the proud new owner of a stand up paddleboard. Kim lives in Whitefish with her two quirky dogs Mitsu and Cosmo.