Spend an evening downtown warming up with a free monthly dose of art, culture, music and fun as 1st Thursday heats up the night from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 7. The event will feature more than 25 cultural venues, new exhibits, artist receptions and live music.

Mingle with artists in venues such as Gallery 113, where Artist of the Month Carol Dixon will showcase a new, mixed-media exhibit that is a response to the turmoil and changes in the world during the past year. Every piece contains eyes — some obvious, some not — that represent the observer in all of us as we reflect on the world.

Cheryl Ambrecht will be at Live Culture showing off oil paintings full of vivid colors and personality. She takes great pleasure in painting and will paint any subject just for the joy of it. There will be a plethora of artists on hand at Gallery Ten-Twenty-Nine to discuss the show “Spirit,” where Claudia Cook, Paul Cook, Francine Kirsch and Susan Wolff investigate personal interpretations of the “Art Spirit.”

Owen Plant, the Jamaican-born lead singer of the Sunshine Brothers, will be outside Saks Fifth Avenue to invigorate 1st Thursday goers with his original style of reggae-influenced, folkie, groovy tunes.

Patrik “Piano” Maiani will be at the Museum of Art corner pushing the boundaries of traditional piano music to entertain the public with his energetic performance. Mezcal Martini will look to spice up the night with a little Latin-flavored jazz.

For that all-encompassing warm and fuzzy feeling, doing a good deed is second to none, and 1st Thursday offers plenty of opportunities. At the Santa Barbara Public Library, Southern California Artists Painting for the Environment (SCAPE) will be in attendance to discuss the show “Ranches, Waterways and Woodlands — Saving Special Places,” with 40 percent of all proceeds benefiting the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County.

Ocean Hill’s The Loft presents “We Are Batwa,” a photographic story of hope and friendship for the Batwa People of Burundi, Africa. This is a photographic story of how hope is being restored to the indigenous people of Burundi who are subject to harsh discrimination. The Health Gallery is dedicating 25 percent of all sales to local charities during the show “Exploring Iconography with Estaban,” a colorful exhibition and appreciation with a twist.

All of these attractions and more are free during 1st Thursday. With more than 25 stops on January’s map, there is sure to be something for everyone.

Click here for more information, including a complete listing of the specific programming offered at each gallery and public performances and interactive exhibits.

— Mary Lynn Harms is the marketing director for the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization.