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“Vacuum Cleaner Car” Transforms Pollution to Positivity with Winning Artwork

Young Artist Wins Silver Award in FY22 Toyota Dream Car USA Art Contest!

Kai Sheng working on her vacuum cleaner car design
Kai Sheng works on her design.

The simple mechanics of how a common household appliance could be applied and adapted as a vehicle to clean the world and spread happiness was the basis of an award-winning transportation design by a 10-year-old girl from Hammond, Louisiana. Kai Sheng’s innovative “Vacuum Cleaner Car” features a two-seater operator system: the left side captures the pollution from various industrial plants and transforms it while the right side cultivates nutrients and water to help pollinators flourish. Her design earned her the Silver Award in the FY22 Toyota Dream Car USA Art Contest.

A fifth grader at Oaks Montessori School, Kai found out about the contest from her art teacher who observed her drawing daily. “She wanted to make a car that cleans pollution,” said her parents Feng Lin Sheng and Ping Jia Sheng. “It led to her idea of a ‘vacuum cleaner’ theme. She hopes that Toyota can create a car like hers so it can help clean the world.”

Vacuum Cleaner Car” Transforms Pollution to Positivity with Winning Artwork

3D model of Kai Sheng's award-winning drawing "Vacuum Cleaner Car" eliminates pollution
3D model of Kai Sheng’s award-winning drawing

Once Kai identified her theme for her drawing, it took three weeks to finalize her design concept, and then it took her another twenty hours to complete her drawing. She used oil pastels, markers, and color pencils to make her mixed-media artwork.

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. Three of this year’s 3D models – including one inspired by Kai’s “Vacuum Cleaner Car” – are displayed on the first floor of the Toyota Center for Innovation in STEM Education, which is located on the CSU-DH campus in the Science & Innovation Building (1000 E. Victoria St., Carson, CA 90747 – parking map and driving directions). Seven other 3D models by grade school artists 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.

Through the work of Kai 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.

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.