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An art affair with music

Loretta Alvarado and her artwork at the 2014 Art-A-Fair in Laguna Beach, California
Loretta Alvarado and her artwork at the 2014 Art-A-Fair in Laguna Beach, California
Photo by Patricia Shanks

Visual artist Loretta Alvarado translates her love for music into clever fabric art creations that resonate with visitors to the annual summer Laguna Beach Art-A-Fair. This is the 18th season at Art-A-Fair for the artist, whose childhood creative endeavors actually were more audible than visual.

For Alvarado, everything began in fifth grade with piano lessons and the accompanying mixed emotional media of performance anxiety, energized anticipation and excitement. An accidental excursion into playing the violin and one particular piece by Georg Philipp Telemann fueled her passion for the instrument, which she played into her early college years. When she learned via a career explorations class how little money musicians make, she set her sights on other career options, ultimately becoming an engineer prior to repurposing her skills and creating her musical motif fabric art.

Most adults have some history with music lessons as children. This common bond proves to be a nice entrée into conversations with Art-A-Fair attendees for Alvarado.

“Do you play?” Alvarado questioned a gentleman who seemed to make a special connection with one of her pieces. The man replied that he did not play an instrument, but he continued to discuss music with her. Usual responses to this query generally include tales of fond memories in the band, or of fearful piano recital mishaps.

In another instance at a previous year Art-A-Fair, Alvarado prepared to offer an on-site demonstration of her artistic process when she seemed to strike a symbiotic chord with an attendee. The gentleman was extremely intrigued by her work – so much so that she asked him to help her craft the piece featuring a string bass. Alvarado completed their collaborative effort, framed it and promptly sold it to the man, who she only then learned played bass in a jazz band.

Alvarado publishes instructional guides and videos which she offers on her website, and she enjoys expressing her transformative life experiences with music through her art.

The Art-A-Fair takes place now through August 31. Find out more at Find Loretta Alvarado at

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