Kelly Rector, granddaughter of the late Ann B. Campbell, shows some of the artist’s work, which is on display now at Art on Main. (Staff photo by Elisabeth Moore)
Kelly Rector, granddaughter of the late Ann B. Campbell, shows some of the artist’s work, which is on display now at Art on Main. (Staff photo by Elisabeth Moore)
From murals on brick walls to handmade crafts being sold in shops, art is not hard to find in Madison. While many new pieces of art are being created, the Madison Art Club is focusing on some older art works to help their HArT program prosper.

HArT stands for “Helping Artists Thrive” and the Madison Art Club created this program in 2017 to nurture artists in the community and to help develop their marketing and art skills. With this program, each successful applicant will receive an exhibit space at the Madison Art Club gallery, Art on Main, as well as guidance from club members on how to present and market their artwork.

There are two HArT participants this year, Jacob Laird and Melissa Porter. But, to help pay for the gallery space and mentoring that each participant receives, the Madison Art Club had to find a way to fundraise or gain donations. This is where Kelly Rector comes in.

Rector is the granddaughter of the late Ann B. Campbell, a local artist and founding member of the Madison Art Club. Over her lifetime, Campbell learned how to paint and when she moved to Madison, she taught art classes, became a charter member of the Madison Art Club and helped start its first gallery at East and Main streets.

While Campbell did participate in much more than the Madison Art Club, she was known primarily for the many paintings and other crafts she created. Campbell primarily used oil paints and painted scenes of Madison, flowers, landscapes and even portraits.

“She painted hundreds of paintings throughout the years,” Rector said. “I mean, she was like a machine. She really was like a factory and she painted so much. And so, it’s just time to start getting them out into the community so people can see them.”

To help get these paintings more into the community, Rector worked alongside her family to donate 18 paintings to the Madison Art Club. Seventeen of the paintings were chosen to sell, which will help to fund the HArt program.

While the donated paintings will help fund the HArT Club, Rector said she wants the paintings to be seen by the community. Her family has already given away or sold various Campbell paintings, but Rector saw the Madison Art Club as an opportunity to help the community and to share all of the work that Campbell created.

“The purpose of donating the paintings was to keep her memory alive, her legacy alive,” Rector said. “We just want people to see her paintings.”