Top: Artist Nicole Vance poses for a picture with Milton Public Library director Meghan Bellavance after donating her artwork to the public for Milton Artists' Guild's art assault. Above: Artist Linda Stech is pictured with the owner of Jeff's Maine Seafood in St. Albans. (Courtesy Gisela Alpert)

Artist Linda Stech is pictured with the owner of Jeff’s Maine Seafood in St. Albans. (Courtesy Gisela Alpert)

What better way to give back than to give away something for free?

In the case of the Milton Artists’ Guild, the nonprofit is in the midst of its inaugural “art assault,” in which its members organized an onslaught of art donations to local businesses in Milton and beyond.

So far, 21 merchants have been “attacked” in the campaign, and four more are awaiting their gift, MAG president Gisela Alpert said.

The effort is a way for the guild to show its gratitude to the community and, in turn, to spark greater appreciation of the arts, a goal central to its mission.

So far, it seems to be working.

Alpert presented each venue a binder with 39 image choices, which were printed on a 2-by-3-foot laminated fiberboard with the artists’ name and MAG logo. The artist delivered his or her own piece to the recipient.

Holly VanWinkle, site supervisor at Milton Family Practice on Centre Drive, was thrilled to choose Leeza Mossey’s painting of the artist’s daughter, which the practice hung in its main lobby.

The image resonated with the doctor’s office “because we’re family medicine, and we’re taking care of the whole family,” VanWinkle said. “It’s nice to see that.”

VanWinkle was honored the practice was chosen to display the MAG’s talent: “It really ties the community back to the practice and the medical home,” she said.

Artist Nicole Vance poses for a picture with Milton Public Library director Meghan Bellavance after donating her artwork to the public for Milton Artists' Guild's art assault. (Courtesy Gisela Alpert)

Artist Nicole Vance poses for a picture with Milton Public Library director Meghan Bellavance after donating her artwork to the public for Milton Artists’ Guild’s art assault. (Courtesy Gisela Alpert)

Alpert said the program has many benefits.

“You can tell by the smile on everyone’s face, the artist and venue, that they’re so happy and appreciative,” she said. “[The venue has] something beautiful. It feels really good for the artist because it creates a really good sense of self-esteem. It’s equivalent to buying their piece of art.”

So far, Gardener’s Supply, Milton Veterinary Hospital, Long Trail Physical Therapy, Milton Senior Center and the town offices and library in town have been “assaulted,” along with Leunig’s Bistro, Healthy Living and Paul Frank & Collins in Burlington, the latter the firm that helped the guild obtain 501.c3 status in 2011.

Alpert’s husband’s company, BioTek Instruments in Winooski, also received art prints, as did Jeff’s Maine Seafood and Northwestern Medical Center in St. Albans.

The outreach helps “spread the word that Milton has something very unique to offer,” Alpert said.

The guild hopes to continue the program in 2017.

The group is also looking forward to presenting a $150 scholarship to a Milton High School student this graduation and organizing an open art event this fall where spectators can watch artists at work.

For more information, visit www.miltonartistsguild.org.