Visit downtown Santa Barbara for 1st Thursday, an evening filled with free art, culture, music and fun. The Jan. 3 event will include more than 20 cultural art venues eager to show off new exhibits, artist receptions, demonstrations and live music.

Launch into the new year as you rediscover 1st Thursday with fresh artists and exhibits, live music and an evening full of fun.

Kick-start 2013 at Sullivan Goss: An American Gallery with one of the largest exhibitions in the gallery’s history, “An Even Dozen,” which features twelve works by each of six contemporary and six vintage American artists for a grand total of 144 paintings and sculptures.

Make your way over to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art to view a new exhibit, “California Dreaming: Plein-Air Painting from San Francisco to San Diego.” This exhibition presents a selection of early 20th-century paintings that celebrate the specific topography and climactic effects associated with the regional landscape from San Francisco to San Diego. A must-see is a new exhibit by the Santa Barbara Sculptor’s Guild on view at the Faulkner Gallery in the Santa Barbara Public Library.

Welcome back to Santa Barbara, Jane Deering Gallery, featuring “A Thousand Hours,” a group show of ceramics by Christopher Bates, Matthias Merkel Hess, Jared Theis, Sandra Torres and Jenchi Wu.

Want to enjoy delicious treats, live music and art all in one? Stop by Sojourner Café to see work by Craig Joujon-Roche alongside local musician Kat Devlin. Finish your evening at the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum for a live performance at 7 p.m. Chaos is a process-based exploration of the body through curiosity, vulnerability and fearlessness.

While 1st Thursday offers extraordinary exhibits and paintings indoors, be sure to check out the demonstrations, performance art and live music outdoors. Enjoy the sweet sounds of high school student Marley Quinn at the corner of State and Anapamu streets as she performs her original music for all to enjoy.

The most exciting time of year is right around the corner as the city gears up for another highly anticipated Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Stop by the Marshall’s Patio at 900 State Street and visit the SBIFF Booth to learn more about the upcoming festival.

Ever hear the beautiful sounds of local guitarist Bruce Goldish in the parking lot above the Fiesta Five Theatre at all hours of the night? Come meet Goldish as he serenades on the Marshall’s Patio and put a face behind the music. Finally, make your way over to Paseo Nuevo to enjoy Mon-e-Luv, a local duo including Scott Topper and Mitch Karno as this pair plays fun, lively, danceable original and cover songs.

All of these attractions and many more are free during 1st Thursday on Jan. 3. With more than 20 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.