McFeely, formerly the school’s library, now home to the History Department, is the new permanent home to murals painted by Newtown native John Foster. John’s six panels show a series of events telling tales of Newtown’s history. The collection was originally displayed in the bar at the White Hall Hotel on State Street.
John first began painting as a child with his father, who was also an amateur artist. Recognizing his son’s ability, his father sent him to the Philadelphia Museum College of Art (now known as the University of the Arts). Following his graduation in 1930, he was self-employed as a cartoonist, sign painter, and graphic designer in Newtown. In the late 1930s he was employed full-time as a perspective draftsman at the Brewster Aeronautical Corporation factory in Warminster, Pennsylvania. After serving as a detachment artist for the U.S. Army, 7th Special Service, Camp Lowe in Ahwaz, Iran during World War II, he returned to the Philadelphia Museum College of Art to teach. He was the Director of the Freshman Program from 1957 to 1965 and later was a Professor of Drawing and Painting in the Department of Fine Arts until retirement. John passed away in 1989.
The murals survived a major fire and spent three decades in a local antique shop, before being acquired by George School this past year. The school was contacted about becoming a permanent location for the artwork after the owners asked to keep the collection together. McFeely’s layout and unoccupied wall space offered the perfect solution. “We are delighted to have them permanently at George School as part of the History Department,” said Sam Houser head of school.
Carter Sio, the school’s woodworking teacher, built new frames for each of the six murals, and the artwork will be professionally conserved over the next few years as funding becomes available. Additionally, a panel about the collection’s history will be installed this spring.
Guests are invited to see the murals between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.