U.S. Winners of FY18 Toyota Dream Car Art Contest Announced

The solutions to our world’s current challenges just might reside somewhere in the space where automotive technology and visual art intersect. Nine talented young artists certainly believe so – their visions of cars of the future earned them recognition today as national winners of the annual Toyota Dream Car Art Contest.

Now World Contest Semi-Finalists, the artwork by these nine youth advances to represent the United States in competing against entrants from over 80 countries. In August 2018, the top 30 World Winners will win an all-expenses-paid trip to Toyota City, Japan, and participate in an awards ceremony, which includes a tour of a Toyota manufacturing plant. The nine 2018 U.S. Winners were chosen by a national panel of thirteen judges who viewed artwork by 39 U.S. finalists; the latter of which had been selected by 1,107 Toyota team members nationwide from a pool of 103 U.S. semi-finalists. The U.S. judges were:

Mike GroffPresident and Chief Executive Officer, Toyota Financial Services Americas Region
Pete Carey, Group Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Product, Toyota Financial Services 
Karen Ideno, Vice President, Product, Marketing, Brand, Corporate Social Responsibility & Communications, Toyota Financial Services
Cheech Marin, Actor, Comedian, Director, and Art Collector
Lynn Beckwith, Host, That Car Lady and Co-Host, Auto MOJO Radio – CBS Sports 650AM
Bryan Benedict, Sr. Staff Designer, Mattel’s Hot Wheels
Kara Brinley, Vice President & General Manager, Longo Toyota of Prosper
Benito Huerta, Artist, Curator & Writer + Art Professor & Gallery at University of Texas-Arlington
Laura Grundler, Visual Art Coordinator, Plano Independent School District
Margie Johnson ReeseExecutive Director, Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture + Arts Management Professional
Suzy Sloan Jones, Executive Director, ArtCentre of Plano
Yeongmin Kong, Lead Designer, CALTY Design Research, Inc.
Lynette Wallace, Executive Director, Orange Show Center for Visionary Art & Houston Art Car Parade

“Since 2013, I’ve had the privilege of serving as a national judge for this contest, and I continue to be amazed by the artistic talent and unique concepts expressed by the young artists who participate,” said comedian and art collector Cheech Marin. “Each year, their artwork themes reveal how keenly aware they are of the world around them, and their creative solutions give me hope for our future.”

“The fact that eight of our winners this year are girls is great news for our profession,” said Bryan Benedict, Senior Staff Design with Mattel’s Hot Wheels. “Their design concepts were incredible, and now if we can keep these girls interested in automotive design as a career option, we’re golden.”

“We truly look forward to this contest every year,” said Mike Groff, President & CEO of Toyota Financial Services. “With so much going on in the world, there’s a great deal for a young mind to process and understand. So, it’s particularly encouraging to see these kids channel their thought, creativity, and talent into beautiful works of art that express their visions, hopes, and dreams of a brighter future and a better world.”

“The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art was honored to be involved with this year’s competition,” said Lynette Wallace. “We were amazed by the creativity and artistic quality of the work in such young artists. This imagination for transformation of vehicles into Dream Cars, many with the desire to help others, is the same creative spirit we showcase through the Houston Art Car Parade each year as personal inspirations are realized through motorized works of art.”

“It was a great experience to be a judge as I was inspired by the creativity, color composition, layout, details, and emotions of these young artists,” said Yeongmin Kong, Lead Designer, CALTY Design Research, Inc. “The applicants amazed me with their carefully articulated ideas on paper, which were small, but full of passion. Their colorful works made me rethink about my professional work as a car designer, which seems so black and white in comparison. Life should be vibrant and happy like their color choices.”

The Toyota Dream Car Art Contest is a worldwide contest presented annually, designed to inspire creativity in youth and imagine the future of mobility. Winners of the Toyota Dream Car Art Contest in participating countries worldwide are chosen from three age categories (under 8 years old; 8-11 years old; and 12-15 years old), with judging based on three criteria: artistry, uniqueness, and execution of concept. The first international contest was held in 2004 by Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan. This is the 7th year of the U.S. contest presented by Toyota Financial Services.

Here are the nine U.S. winners of this year’s national contest:

U.S. WINNERS- CATEGORY 1 (Under 8 Years of Age)
Gold: Toyota Dream Car Of Fun by Avni Choudepally, age 7; Morrisville, NC
Silver: Toyota Homeless Helper by Wesley Lam, age 6; Jackson Heights, NY
Bronze: Toyota Science Car by Grace Sun, age 7; Livingston, NJ

U.S. WINNERS- CATEGORY 2 (8-11 Years of Age)
Gold: Toyota – Make The World A Better Place by Lynn Sun, age 9; Livingston, NJ
Silver: The Rebuilding Car by Zia Yewon Lee, age 8; Medina, WA
Bronze: Where to Next? by Nicole X. Zhong, age 11; Northville, MI

U.S. WINNERS- CATEGORY 3 (12-15 Years of Age)
Gold: The Dragon Dream Car by Audrey Tianyu Zhang, age 14; Levittown, NY
Silver: Race Through Time Car by Jia Y. Zhu, age 13; San Diego, CA
Bronze: Making A Difference Through Art by Eden Quan, age 15; Livingston, NJ


FY18 U.S. Winners (9)               FY18 U.S. Finalists (39)                         FY18 U.S. Semi-Finalists (103)

ABOUT TOYOTA: Toyota (NYSE:TM), creator of the Prius and the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, is committed to advancing mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands. Over the past 60 years, we’ve produced more than 30 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 44,000 people (more than 34,000 in the U.S.).  Our 1,800 North American dealerships (nearly 1,500 in the U.S.) sold almost 2.6 million cars and trucks (2.45 million in the U.S.) in 2016 – and about 85 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 15 years are still on the road today. Toyota partners with community, civic, academic, and governmental organizations to address our society’s most pressing mobility challenges. We share company resources and extensive know-how to support nonprofits to help expand their ability to assist more people move more places. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.


FY18 Winners & Finalists by State


SILVER AWARD – Category 3
Race Through Time Car
Jia Y. Zhu, age 13
San Diego, CA

U.S. Finalist – Category 2
Parking-Free Cars
Ethan Chen, age 9
Cupertino, CA

U.S. Finalist – Category 1
Nature Bee Explorer Vehicle
Daniel Chia, age 6
Alhambra, CA

U.S. Finalist – Category 2
The Giver
David Ha, age 9
Los Angeles, CA

U.S. Finalist – Category 1
Dino Tech
Nathan Lee, age 7
Cypress, CA

U.S. Finalist – Category 1
Back To Nature Car
Yuemu Li, age 7
San Gabriel, CA

U.S. Finalist – Category 2
The Path To Success
Emma Dorla Keas, age 11
San Jose, CA

U.S. Finalist – Category 1
Toyota Bring Dreams for World Kids
Angeline Ruofei Su, age 8
San Jose, CA

U.S. Finalist – Category 2
Plant Purified Oxygen Vehicle
Kathleen Qinyi Li, age 10
Sunnyvale, CA

U.S. Finalist – Category 2
Draw Your Future Car
Anika Jingchen Huang, age 11
San Jose, CA

U.S. Finalist – Category 3
Toyota Life Saver
Kayla H. Jang, age 13
Los Angeles, CA

U.S. Finalist – Category 2
The Plant Car
Heather Choi, age 10
Los Angeles, CA

U.S. Finalist – Category 3
The Fire Rescuer
Yingshu Zhu, age 13
San Jose, CA

U.S. Finalist – Category 3
Neha Vinjapuri, age 14
San Ramon, CA

U.S. Finalist – Category 3
Toyota Underwater Explorer
Ashley Haewon Chon, age 15
Palos Verdes Estates, CA

U.S. Finalist – Category 3
Back to The Roots
Jillian Alyssa McCombs, age 14
Riverside, CA

U.S. Finalist – Category 2
Negative Energy Purification Car
Xiaochan Zhang, age 10
Irvine, CA


U.S. Finalist – Category 1
Solar-Powered Day Trip Around the World
Bruce Rui Elvin, age 7
New Canaan, CT


U.S. Finalist – Category 1
The Harmonizer
Elan Kanae Dela Cruz, age 7
Honolulu, HI

U.S. Finalist – Category 3
Toyota Voyager! (Let’s Go Places)
Laie K. Akana, age 13
Kapolei, HI

U.S. Finalist – Category 3
Toyota Helios
Camille Kanani Quindica, age 13
Kapolei, HI


GOLD AWARD – Category 1
Toyota Dream Car of Fun
Avni Choudepally, age 7
Morrisville, NC


U.S. Finalist – Category 1
Super Snow Car
Marcus Yi Zheng, age 6
Troy, MI

BRONZE AWARD – Category 2
Where to Next?
Nicole X. Zhong, age 11
Northville, MI

U.S. Finalist – Category 2
The Flying Toyota Car
Iris Sue-er Cao, age 8
Novi, MI


U.S. Finalist – Category 1
Toyota – The Art Wagon
Anika Kuntal Dave, age 6
Woodbridge, NJ

BRONZE AWARD – Category 1
Toyota Science Car
Grace Sun, age 7
Livingston, NJ

U.S. Finalist – Category 1
All-in-One Dream Car
Jayden Zhang, age 6
Basking Ridge, NJ

GOLD AWARD – Category 2
Toyota Makes the World A Better Place
Lynn Sun, age 9
Livingston, NJ

U.S. Finalist – Category 2
Toyota Biocar
Aaron Yu Pan, age 10
Edison, NJ

BRONZE AWARD – Category 3
Making A Difference Through Art
Eden Quan, age 15
Livingston, NJ


SILVER AWARD – Category 1
Toyota Homeless Helper
Wesley Lam, age 6
Jackson Heights, NY

U.S. Finalist – Category 3
The Dragon Dream Car
Audrey Tianyu Zhang, age 14
Levittown, NY

U.S. Finalist – Category 3
Exploring The Universe
Olivia Octavia Zackey, age 15
Akron, NY


U.S. Finalist – Category 2
Planets in Space
Anya Sawnani, age 10
Cincinnati, OH


U.S. Finalist – Category 3
Fly to the Wilderness
Julian Shu, age 14
Coopersburg, PA


U.S. Finalist – Category 1
Super Veggie-Fruit Car
Caitlyn T. Wijatno, age 7
Houston, TX


U.S. Finalist – Category 2
Magic Car
Jennifer Choi, age 10
Centreville, VA


SILVER AWARD – Category 2
The Rebuilding Car
Zia Yewon Lee, age 8
Medina, WA