Music carried through downtown Thursday night as numerous performers took part in Art and Music in the Heart of Newton, while patrons passing by could also stop in at several stores to view the paintings, sculptures and other works displayed by local artists.

A total of 17 businesses took part in the event sponsored by the Newton Chamber of Commerce. Musical stylings of the night ranged from alternative rock to bluegrass to jazz, also highlighting instruments like the steel drum and hammered dulcimer. Midland National Bank featured performer David Anderson — playing the latter — was glad for such an opportunity.

"I just like sharing the instrument with others. I don't do this for anything than just exposing the hammered dulcimer to people," Anderson said. "The people are right there with you, so it's really nice."

Exposure is something other artists were pleased to have through the event as well. On top of the numerous art pieces on display, many of those involved also demonstrated their craft live — whether painting, sculpting or even making rugs.

Judy Brees has helped with the event at her mother's shop, Clayworks Gallery, for several years, but this was her first year being a featured artist. Through the night, Brees worked on some of her pieces in the studio as people came and went, having a chance to interact with those individuals in the midst of that process. Some of the reactions, especially from younger visitors, were something Brees viewed as a great benefit.

"I think it's important for kids to be taught art and get enthusiastic," Brees said. "It helps your mental development to work your hands and eyes together and that sort of thing."

Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce Pam Stevens called the event a great way to kick off spring as it is a true community event. On top enjoying local art, attendees were also able to browse the unique downtown shops during extended hours and enjoy the offerings of some local food vendors.

Having such an outlet to reach the community was an experience not lost on the artists either.

"I just feel like the area needs more art, needs more interest in art and needs more support for the arts," Brees said.

"I'm just glad they have something like this for the community to be able to enjoy because there's a lot of good musicians here," Anderson said. "It's nice to be a part of it."