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Best Finalist in World Contest Awarded to Zongxuan Helena Zou!

"Best Finalist" world winner Helena Zou shows her drawing
“Best Finalist” world winner Zongxuan Helena Zou shows her drawing

Demonstrating ingenuity and empathy through art shines in an artwork designed by a local youth, which won one of the world’s “Best Finalist” awards in the Toyota Dream Car Art Contest. Inspired to give a helping hand from far away, five-year-old Zongxuan Helena Zou created an imaginative solution to deliver groceries to her grandmother’s high-rise apartment by one of the tallest animals in the world.

A kindergartner from Ridgewood, New Jersey, Helena’s artwork caught the attention of judges for its colorful kindhearted concept. Using markers and watercolors, she worked more than a week to create her “Giraffe Car Delivers Happiness,” which was selected as the Gold Award Winner in her age group for the FY22 Toyota Dream Car USA Art Contest. Helena’s work went on to win a “Best Finalist” award (Category 1) in the 16th Toyota Dream Car World Art Contest. Along with Helena, two other U.S. winners were recognized in the world competition this year: 15-year-old Ava Yeh of Mercer Island, Washington for her “Toyota Dream Orchestra Car” artwork and 11-year-old Doyeon Lee of Mill Creek, Washington for her “Sweet Car” artwork.

“Helena draws almost every day. She dreams of one day becoming a veterinarian, an artist, AND a superhero – all in one,” said her father, Gavin Zou. “She likes animals, especially giraffes because she once fed one at a zoo. During the pandemic, she missed her grandmother who lives abroad and wanted to help her. She came up with this idea and thought it could help others, too.”

Her spirit of service and spark for the creative is something all who encounter Helena notice, including those at her school. “We are so proud to hear that Helena won awards in the national and world contests. She is a talented artist. We congratulate her achievement,” said Brian Ross, principal of Travell Elementary School.

“Thank you for the award. I came up with my dream car idea to help people. With the prize money, I want to buy books about machines and cars, and go see factories,” shared Helena.

Through the work of Helena and many other young artists, Toyota is proud to hold a contest that inspires children and teens to dream about the future of cars while using art to inspire others to make an impact on the world. Now in its 12th year, the FY23 Toyota Dream Car USA Art Contest launched in the United States on October 1, 2022. Artwork by U.S. youth, ages 4-15, may be submitted online or by mail for this year’s U.S. contest through January 31, 2023. Entry forms for this year’s contest are available at www.ToyotaDreamCarUSA.com/entry-forms.

3D Model of Zongxuan Helena Zou’s “Giraffe Car Delivers Happiness”

The Toyota Dream Car USA Art Contest also inspired another exciting project that incorporates the STEAM approach to teaching and learning, combining science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math to guide student inquiry, discussion, and problem-solving. Presented in partnership by Toyota Motor North America, California State University Dominguez Hills (CSU-DH), and the Petersen Automotive Museum, university students create their own 3D interpretations of the contest’s top winning artworks. Seven of this year’s 3D models – including one inspired by Helena’s “Giraffe Car Delivers Happiness,” – are on view at the Petersen Automotive Museum in the Rob and Melani Walton Discovery Center (Saturday, October 29, 2022 through Sunday, March 26, 2023). For museum hours, visit www.petersen.org. Three there 3D models by grade school artists are displayed on the first floor of the Toyota Center for Innovation in STEM Education on the CSU-DH campus in the Science & Innovation Building (1000 E. Victoria St., Carson, CA 90747).

Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan held the first worldwide contest in 2004. Nearly 90 countries now host national contests. All countries submit their top nine winners to Japan as entries into the World Contest. To learn about the World Contest, visit www.Toyota-DreamCarArt.com.

About Toyota: Toyota (NYSE:TM) has been a part of the cultural fabric in the U.S. and North America for more than 60 years, and is committed to advancing sustainable, next-generation mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands. During that time, Toyota has created a tremendous value chain as our teams have contributed to world-class design, engineering, and assembly of more than 38 million cars and trucks in North America, where we have 14 manufacturing plants, 15 including our joint venture in Alabama (10 in the U.S.), and directly employ more than 47,000 people (over 36,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (nearly 1,500 in the U.S.) sold 2.8 million cars and trucks (2.4 million in the U.S.) in 2018. Through the Start Your Impossible campaign, Toyota highlights the way it partners with community, civic, academic and governmental organizations to address our society’s most pressing mobility challenges. We believe that when people are free to move, anything is possible. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.


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