Toyota Financial Services (TFS) hosted its fifth year of participating in the worldwide Toyota Dream Car Art Contest in the United States, which is designed to inspire creativity in youth and encourage an interest in the automotive industry. During Tuesday, September 15, 2015 thru Monday, February 1, 2016, U.S. youth, ages 4-15, submitted hand-drawn artworks featuring unique concepts of their “Dream Car.” Applicants are sorted into three age categories (4-7 years; 8-11 years; 12-15 years). Judging is based on three criteria: execution of concept; uniqueness; and artistry.
“Every year, it’s exciting to see how youth around the world envision the future of transportation,” said Mike Groff, President & CEO of Toyota Financial Services. “I find it inspiring to see young people incorporate social responsibility into their designs, dreaming of cars that help clean the ocean, end homelessness, and provide mobility to those who are physically challenged.”
In the spring of 2016, nine U.S. winners were selected. After accepted and awarded, their artwork was submitted, along with entries from over 80 countries, for consideration in the World Contest. Thirty World Winners plus their parents or guardians receive a trip to Japan to participate in an awards ceremony in August 2016 during which four additional awards are announced per age category: Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Best Finalist. This past year, 11-year-old Michael Zhou of Ann Arbor, Michigan, whose artwork “Handicap-Friendly Cleaning Car” won the U.S. Gold Award, was selected as one of 30 World Winners to go to Japan. He ultimately placed as “Best Finalist” in his age category for the 9th World Contest.
As in years past, Toyota divisions and affiliates encourage young people across the country to participate. During 2015-16, multiple exhibitions featuring artwork by past U.S. Dream Car finalists toured California, Arizona, and Texas. Venues included John Elway’s Crown Toyota Scion in Ontario, California (Thu 8/20/15 thru Mon 2/1/16); Downtown Art Walk‘s Edison Gallery at MALDEF presented by Katalyst Foundation for the Arts (Thu 9/10/15 thru Sun 9/20/15); Phantom Galleries LA in Hawthorne, California (9/23/15 thru Sat 10/24/15); Redondo Beach Public Library presented by Redondo Beach Art Group (Thu 10/1/15 thru Sun 11/22/15); Plaza de la Raza (10/27/15 thru 12/19/15; Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum in Arizona (Mon 10/26/15 thru Mon 2/1/16); and ArtCentre of Plano in Texas (Fri 12/18/15 thru Fri 1/29/16). Displays will also be on view during December 2015 at Toyota USA Automobile Museum and Toyota Headquarters in Torrance, California.
HISTORY OF THE WORLD CONTEST: Last year, over 875,000 entries from more than 81 countries were submitted by youth, ages 4-15, around the world to their local presentations of the Toyota Dream Car Art Contest. Of these, over 700 artworks were submitted for World Contest judging in Japan. The first global contest was held in 2004 by Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan with the dual goals of inspiring children to understand the importance of having a dream while, at the same time, encouraging them to become interested in cars by designing “Dream Cars” of their imagination. 2015-2016 marked the 10th World Contest and the 5th year of the National Contest run in the United States for Toyota by TFS. The nine 2015 U.S. Winners were selected by a national panel of judges who reviewed artwork by 32 U.S. Finalists. These Finalists were selected by nearly 1,500 Toyota team members nationwide from a pool of 90 U.S. Semi-Finalists.