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  • Writer's pictureBrian Negron

Beyond Graffiti: No Borders Skillz Competition Shaping Orlando's Art Landscape

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

Grape and The Grain at Mills 50 District recently hosted the No Borders Skillz Competition, a unique and dynamic event that showcases the talents of local artists. I had the privilege of sitting down with Luis Rivera, the host of the competition, to delve into the essence of No Borders and its impact on the artistic community.

Luis Rivera described No Borders as a 30-minute competition that challenges artists to create with black markers and differently sized, colored tips. The emphasis is on producing clean and quick artwork, a nod to the competition's roots in graffiti culture. What began as a graffiti-inspired endeavor has evolved into a platform that provides artists with unprecedented visibility. The competition allows diverse artists to showcase their styles within a tight timeframe, often yielding surprising and impressive results.

The choice of Grape and The Grain as the venue for No Borders was no coincidence. Luis expressed admiration for the clean and unique environment, particularly the inviting outdoor patio. The first time he experienced the venue, he was captivated by its dynamic atmosphere, clean aesthetics, and welcoming hosts. This led to the immediate decision to host No Borders events at Grape and The Grain, making it one of the premier spots for the competition. Luis highlighted the cozy and cool ambiance, praising the aesthetic that aligns seamlessly with No Borders' vision.

As the conversation unfolded, Luis shared the journey of No Borders, which started as a fun project approximately nine years ago. Initially hosted at the Caboose Bar, the competition quickly gained traction and expanded to various locations across Orange County. Orlando City Soccer and Mount Dora Art Fest were among the organizations that reached out to No Borders, seeking its unique events. The competition's popularity surged, leading to collaborations with renowned artists and invitations to participate in major events.

When asked about the long-term goals of No Borders, Luis emphasized the commitment to providing artists with opportunities they might not have elsewhere. The competition began as a passion project, and its evolution into a platform that supports artists' growth is a testament to the community's demand for unique and engaging content. Luis expressed pride in the competition's role in fostering a sense of community among artists and creating unexpected opportunities.

Reflecting on the impact of No Borders, Luis recounted the heartening story of a 13-year-old artist who sold a piece for $100 during this past weekend. The genuine excitement in his voice echoed the sense of accomplishment and fulfillment that comes from empowering artists, regardless of age or experience. No Borders has become a catalyst for unprecedented achievements, from launching hip-hop icons to contributing to mural projects like Apopka murals.

As our conversation drew to a close, Luis hinted at future plans for No Borders, with a special eye on the ten-year milestone. The competition continues to attract new artists, and Luis expressed gratitude for the growing community that has embraced the No Borders extravaganza. His enthusiasm for the journey and the artists involved was palpable, encapsulating the essence of No Borders as a force for artistic growth and community celebration. The future looks bright for No Borders, a testament to the power of creativity and collaboration in the heart of Orlando's art scene.

All event Pictures: HERE

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