Beckie Kravetz began her sculpture career as a theatrical mask maker. She received her training at the Yale School of Drama, the Centro Maschere e Strutture Gestuali in Italy, the Taller de Madera in Guatemala, and the Instituto Allende in San Miguel, Mexico. In 1988, she became the resident mask maker for the Los Angeles Opera, where she also worked as a principal makeup artist and assistant wig-master. Her skills have helped transform the faces of dozens of singers, including Placido Domingo, Sir Thomas Allen, Carol Vaness, Samuel Ramey, Gerald Finley, and Rod Gilfry.
A 1993 exhibition of her masks at Roark Gallery in Los Angeles led to the creation of Beckie’s first series of non-wearable, sculptural masks. Years of working with actors inspired her to explore the mask’s inner surface; the point of transformation between actor and character. Early works using painting and text on the inside of the face evolved into bronze masks containing elaborate three-dimensional tableaus. The first series of this type was inspired by Kravetz’s years at the opera, and is titled Sculpted Arias.
In 1998, the Los Angeles Opera hosted the premiere solo exhibition of the Sculpted Arias at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Select pieces in the series have subsequently been shown at the Metropolitan Opera Gallery, Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson MOCA, and the Seattle Opera Ring gallery. Beckie continues to add to the Sculpted Arias series, but her work is not limited to operatic themes. Beckie's recent exhibitions include contemporary figurative sculpture in bronze, ceramic and mixed media. She creates installations, figures interacting with masks, and portrait masks in the style of the Sculpted Arias, but depicting historical or contemporary individuals.
In 2001, Beckie Kravetz was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to Spain, to study wood sculpture, ritual masks, and puppets. She has also received grants from the California Arts Council, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and private foundations. Upcoming engagements include a solo exhibition in Guangzhou, China, as part of the Breaking Arts Festival. Beckie's sculptures have also been exhibited at the Tucson Museum of Art (Arizona), The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles (solo exhibition), Lincoln Center Library (NYC), Tucson Museum of Contemporary Art, the Jewish Community Museum (San Francisco), the Downey Gallery in Santa Fe (solo exhibition), Shidoni Gallery in Santa Fe, Gallery 10 and Minds Eye Gallery (Scottsdale, AZ), Davis Dominguez, Dinnerware and TDS galleries (Tucson), Walker Gallery (Davis, CA), Mesquite Grove gallery (Patagonia, AZ), and Roark Gallery (Los Angeles). Her theatrical mask work has been seen in numerous opera, regional theater and university productions including Los Angeles Opera, Santa Fe Opera, New York ’s Classic Stage Company, Pan Asian Repertory Theater and Lincoln Center Institute, LA’s Ziggurat Theater and Towne Street Theater, Teatro La Tia Norica and Gran Teatro Falla (Cádiz, Spain), Yale University, Bryn Mawr and Hunter Colleges. She has also created masks for Madonna’s Max Factor Gold international campaign, and the opera-themed Nike and Pepsi commercials featuring Charles Barkley and Michael Jackson.
Beckie's teaching experience includes working with students of all ages and with special populations. She offers workshops in sculpture, mask making, theatrical makeup and opera makeup. She has received grants from the California and Arizona Arts Councils to be an Artist in Residence, working with adults and children with physical and emotional disabilities and with women in transitional housing facilities. She has also taught at a variety of educational and theatrical institutions including Williams College, Mount Holyoke College, Bryn Mawr College, Hunter College, California Polytechnic University (Pomona), Los Angeles Opera, Utah Opera, Opera Tijuana, LA Craft and Folk Art Museum, LA Theatreworks, California Arts Resources Services, Afro-American Museum of Los Angeles, Arts for All, LA Exceptional Children’s Foundation, Tucson Parks and Recreation, and Patagonia, AZ Public Library.
Beckie lives in western Massachusetts with her husband, author and journalist Alan Weisman