(Courtesy of Art Battle)

Tonight (Thursday) sixteen of New York City's best up-and-coming street artists will throw down in the 15th Anniversary edition of Art Battle, an international competition where artists face off in a live art event. Armed with acrylic paint, a blank canvas, and their imagination, they each get twenty minutes to create a masterpiece as they compete for a chance to move on to the National Art Battle Tournament, and potentially the International Championship. Fifteen competitors including Marthalicia Sara Jean-Baptiste ( http://sarajb96.wixsite.com/newdesign) and Scott Walker will be pitted against one another creaking new works inspired by the local street art scene.

As competitors move through the rounds (where they are voted on by the audience), the canvases get bigger. The stakes are high, with the winner taking home $1,000 on top of a spot in the national competition, but the minds behind Art Battle are focused on showcasing local artists in cities around the globe and fostering communities around live art events.

Simon Plashkes, one of Art Battle's cofounders, said their New York City events are special—those "battles are the rawest," said Simon, "because it really started here in the streets. The first ones that we did here were in an alley junkyard, so it absolutely has that heritage and that feel."

According to Simon, New York City Art Battle events are an unparalleled artistic experience: "You get to see the techniques, you get to see the passion, you get to see the confusion, you get to see the excitement, you get to see that emotion that finds its way onto the canvas eventually, here you get to see it in progress."

Art from the first two rounds will be auctioned off at the end of the night, so you can take your favorite piece home with you.

The event, which costs just $5, starts at 7:30 p.m. at 100 Avenue of the Americas, and will feature music from NYC DJs Miranda Maxwell and Luka Tacon, and the chance to participate as the Wild Card artist (attendees can submit their name at the door for a chance to be picked to compete). All ticket proceeds go to the Children's Museum of Art and space is limited, so get your tickets before they run out.

If you can't make it to tonight's event, Art Battle has another bout on January 25th at (Le) Possion Rouge, and hosts events in the city throughout the year.

Chris Jones photojournalist based in New York City.