The summer is coming to a close and the fall semester is upon us. Visit downtown Santa Barbara for 1st Thursday, an evening filled with free art, culture, music and fun. The Sept. 6 event is pulling out all the stops to send the family back-to-school right and will include more than 35 cultural art venues eager to show off new exhibits, artist receptions, demonstrations and live music.

Start off the evening at The Book Den to stock up on the most popular books that will be all the rage on campus and meet Paul Gallender, author of Sonny Liston: The Real Story Behind Ali- Liston Fights.

Make your way over to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art to get a last chance look at the “Portrayal/Betrayal” exhibit that will close this month. Enjoy some time with the family as you construct a 3D landscape at the SBMA’s Family Resource Center.

Continue to Plum Goods. The store is over the moon to feature Aaron Kramer, who constructs art, furniture and lighting from everyday objects. Kramer’s motto is, “Trash is the failure of imagination.”

Are you ready for those intensive college courses this fall? Head on over to the Art, Design & Architecture Museum of UCSB, where late UCSB art history professor Peter Meller’s designs will be on display, featuring images that range from the lyrical to the humorous to the powerfully expressive.

The Brooks Institute: Gallery 27 will open its doors ready for another semester as it will feature “Good Conversations: The Photographs of Keith Carter.”

While 1st Thursday offers extraordinary exhibits and paintings indoors, be sure to check out the demonstrations, performance art and live music outdoors. Brandi Lentini will perform at the corner of State and Anapamu streets. Lentini is a 13-year-old singer/songwriter who has been performing locally since age 7.

In the spirit of back-to-school, Santa Barbara High School’s Visual Arts and Design Academy (VADA) will set up an interactive collaborative painting studio on the library lawn. Jump into the world of VADA and share an artistic experience with some of Santa Barbara’s best and brightest students.

Stop by the Marshall’s Patio at 900 State St. to listen to the sounds of two youth bands, Stolen Thunder and 50 BELOW.

Also sit down with the Learning Den Preschool to make collage bookmarks from recycled materials, sand, markers and various art mediums perfect for all those textbooks this semester.

Make sure to stop by Paseo Nuevo Shopping Center to celebrate fashion’s biggest night, Fashion’s Night Out. Check out the Walk in Paris Fashion Show, where the latest styles for the fall season will be unveiled at 6 p.m. Afterward, shop the night away and perfect your back-to-school wardrobe with exclusive deals at Paseo Nuevo stores.

All of these attractions and many more are free during 1st Thursday on Sept. 6. With more than 35 stops on this month’s 1st Thursday map, there is sure to be 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.

— Kim Mercado is the marketing and event coordinator for the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization.