Tova Beck is an accomplished artist whose work includes book illustrations and teaching. She is also an athlete and dedicated scholar with a near-perfect GPA, and has been described as a compassionate and mature person.
She became interested in art at age 5, after seeing a magazine photo of a girl with a chickadee and a peanut in her hand. Beck visited the Snake Lake Nature Center in Tacoma and when a chickadee landed on her hand, she wanted to learn more about birds, so she started experimenting with watercolors.
From there, Beck continued to teach herself and moved on to painting landscapes and animals.
Many of her vibrant paintings feature oversized images of birds and animals.
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“I like focusing on small details and emphasizing them to encourage other people to notice them,” she says.
She began earning awards for her art in elementary school. Although she never took an art class herself, she has since taught art classes both professionally and on volunteer basis.
Last year, Beck was selected by Hands-On Art to design an art project and teach about a hundred adult volunteers docents. The volunteers, in turn, taught the project to students at the local schools. Beck’s was the first project designed for HOA by a student.
Among her many accomplishments are illustrated books — including a collaboration with her mother — as well as commissioned art work for several organizations. She also displayed 24 paintings in a solo show at Harbor History Museum, which she considers the highlight of her arts career.
In addition to her focus on art, Beck has been focused on her academics, maintaining a near-perfect GPA.
“I’ve always liked being challenged in school and taking harder classes,” she says.
Her classes included Chinese, and Beck was selected to participate in the high school exchange program with Gig Harbor’s sister school in China. Chinese language teacher Heidi Steele says Beck stood out among her peers.
“Tova approached her experiences with great openness and enthusiasm,” Steele says. “Our Chinese peers quickly noticed her cultural sensitivity and thoughtful character.”
Following a job shadow with a local architect, Beck was inspired to pursue a career in architecture. Her plan is to double major in arts and environmental studies and then pursue a master’s degree in architecture.
“I want to use my environmental studies to create more sustainable building structures,” she says.
Category: Music, art and drama
Education: Senior, Gig High School
Parents: Mimmi and Douglas Beck
Activities/Achievements: Self-taught artist featured in several publications and on TV newscast; Harbor History Museum solo show; Peninsula Hands-On Art artist for project; commissioned work for children’s book, Tacoma MetroParks coloring book cover, Delta Kappa Gamma conference booklet; Pierce County Safety Poster Contest 1st place; published book reviewed by National Audubon Society; Tahoma Bird Drawing Contest 1st place; art teacher; 6 AP/Honors classes; varsity cross-country, Nike Pre-Nationals; varsity tennis; Arletta Sounds band; Chinese student exchange
Favorite teacher: Heidi Steele, Chinese. “She taught me about Chinese language and culture with enthusiasm. I loved being part of the annual GHHS China Night.”
Best thing about high school: “I loved participating in cross-country, tennis and band because I have met so may great people and have enjoyed the friendly and competitive atmosphere.”