Bill St. George’s family stands with ‘Main Street,’ which is now permanently displayed in the Walpole Room at the Walpole Public Library. Photos courtesy of Philip Czachorowski
By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Main Street in Walpole might mean something a little bit different to each one of the town’s residents. Some may think of passing through Main Street for a part of the daily commute, whereas others might get hungry thinking about Main Street’s restaurants. Those who grew up in Walpole might nostalgically reminisce about going downtown for half-days at school or remember it as a lively, crowded street on every third of July.
William “Bill” St. George found something special in Main Street, as well. His painting of downtown, titled “Main Street,” shows a bright and lively scene of the memorable Walpole center. After St. George passed away in March of 2015, the library Trustees unanimously voted to permanently display the painting in the Walpole Room of the library, thanks to a grant from the Library Friends. St. George’s family and friends gathered in the Walpole Room with several of the Library Friends, Trustees, and officials for the dedication ceremony.
St. George, who grew up in Brockton, moved to Walpole because of his wife, Jean, who grew up in the town. St. George was raised in a musical family, but he showed an interest in art when he started drawing from memory at age four. He worked in advertising and as a graphic designer, but changed direction with his career after deciding to pursue a lifelong dream of painting. “Every time we saw something he wanted to draw, we’d stop the car so he could draw it,” Jean St. George said. “He even taught me to see color on a gray day. I used to think he was crazy … But it’s comforting, too, because now I have paintings all over the house, so it’s almost like he’s still there.”
Between 1999 and 2009, St. George opened two art galleries – one on Boston’s Newbury Street and another on Boylston Street. He became the host for over 400 episodes of the television art show, “Impressions,” which ran on Walpole Community Television, and taught classes and workshops. St. George’s students best remember him for making art fun and giving the classes personality. St. George frequently painted horses, which were his favorite subject to draw and paint, but also did many portraits of both famous people and children. He often painted Boston cityscapes, as well as landscapes of Walpole.
The Walpole Library’s permanent display of “Main Street” will surely keep the immensely talented and beloved Bill St. George in the memories and hearts of Walpole residents.
It will also inspire generations to come.