Visit downtown Santa Barbara for 1st Thursday, an evening filled with free art, culture and music! This week's event will include more than two dozen cultural art venues, all ready for you to meet, greet and enjoy artists, musicians, singers and authors.
Santa Barbara Arts (1114 State St., No. 24) is hosting author Tita Lanning, signing her book The Wit to Win. Hers is an eye-opening account of life in the lap of Gatsby-esque luxury, adoption and her search for her biological parents. In celebration of Women’s History Month, meet Viola Mecke, author of Aging Wisely: Facing Emotional Challenges from 50 – 80+ Years, at CASA Magazine Gallery (23 E. Canon Perdido St.).
A notable figure painter in Southern California, Ejnar Hansen began his career in Copenhagen. The entire Estate of Plein Air paintings, beautiful portraits, abstracts and fantastic works on paper by Ejnar and Jorgen Hansen is now on permanent display and for sale at Cominichi’s Antiques Collective, Estates and Consignment (19 E. Haley St.).
Blush Restaurant & Lounge (630 State St.) is featuring local artist David Diamanté. You can view his eye-catching paintings on the walls, plus enjoy live music.
Swing by Marshalls Patio (900 State St.), where All For Animals presents ARF! (Animals + Reading = Fun!). An innovative literacy program that gives disadvantaged first- and second-graders an opportunity to improve reading skills, ARF! and its therapy dogs will host a Dr. Seuss Story Time every half-hour to celebrate the good doctor’s birthday and Read Across America.
Follow the beat of a youthful drummer to Paseo Nuevo Center Court — that’s where you’ll find Santa Barbara Youth Music Academy. SBMYA was founded locally to provide opportunities for children to explore and express their musical interests and talent. Bottom line: These kids rock!
Speaking of music, get your groove on at several locations: Encanto (1114 State St., No. 22) hosts the Blue Moon Quartet; Sojourner (134 E. Canon Perdido St.) presents singers Eric and Lauren; and Blush, CASA Magazine and Divine Inspiration Gallery of Fine Art (1528 State St.) are all adding music to their evening.
You heard it here first: Opera Santa Barbara returns to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (1130 State St.) with a delightful pop-up opera, featuring soprano Sara Duchovney and tenor Sergio Gonzalez. And just because it’s the most fun to say: Be sure to head downstairs to Salt (740 State St.) to sample their chips and — wait for it — “Saltsa!”
Join the Ensemble Theatre Co. from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. for 1st Thursday: After Hours at the New Vic (33 W. Victoria St.). They’re presenting entertainment by Steve Fort, and delicious snacks provided compliments of a local restaurant partner and a no-host full bar provided by Marquee Events. The New Vic, the Granada Theatre and the Lobero Theatre are teaming up to offer these new 1st Thursday: After Hours events that will be held at a different theater each month.
All of these attractions and many more are free during 1st Thursday. With more than a dozen stops on this month’s 1st Thursday map, there is something for everyone. Click here for more information and a complete listing of the specific programming offered at each gallery, as well as all public performances and interactive exhibits.
— Kate Schwab is the marketing and communications director for the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization.