Nicole Ivan – One of 30 U.S. Finalists in 9th Toyota Dream Car Art Contest

Toyota Rainbow Speeding Dragon by Nicole Norah Ivan

When Nicole Norah Ivan started drawing at three years old, her dad, Sebastian, realized two things: his daughter had talent and they were going to need more walls.

Today, one of those extra walls stands inside Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, where the 10-year-old is exhibiting the piece that earned her one of the U.S. finalists awards in the 9th Toyota Dream Car Art Contest. The vibrant drawing, “Toyota Rainbow Speeding Dragon” symbolizes speed, swiftness, power and confidence, said the fifth grader at New Vistas Center for Education in Chandler, AZ.

Nicole opted to enter the contest after she spotted an ad on her dad’s Toyota Financial Services billing statement.

“Seeing some of the other drawing examples made me want to create a fantasy creature – a speeding dragon – that is a fun and safe vehicle for all riders. He is powerful, friendly and colorful. Kids feel safe and protected when riding him,” Nicole said.

The dragon car travels at such high speeds that time doesn’t matter anymore, and kids remain forever young, Nicole added. And, of course, the car was filled with paintbrushes so all riders may color freely throughout their journey.

Nicole’s piece at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum is one of 26 selected from 190 U.S. finalists of the Toyota Dream Car Art Contest in 2013 and 2014. They will be on display through Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016. This year marks the 10th time that the Toyota Dream Car Art Contest has been presented worldwide, and the fifth year in the United States.

There’s still time for children to enter this year’s contest. Now through Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, U.S. youth, ages 4-15 may submit their hand-drawn artworks featuring unique concepts of their “Dream Car.” Applicants are sorted into three age categories: 4-7, 8-11 and 12-15 years. Judging is based on execution of concept, uniqueness and artistry. Entry forms and rules are available online at

Given that art is “absolutely” Nicole’s favorite subject, and that she was selected a finalist for the 2015 competition, this Mesa resident said she’s entering next year as well.

“I loved that my drawing was considered good enough to be selected in the finals. It gave me confidence that I should compete again and present my art to the world,” she said.

— story written and contributed bDonna Evans