Jeffro Uito gives nature's leftovers a second chance at stardom. He used driftwood to create "Lion," the grand prize winner of the ninth annual Art and Soul of Magic Valley.

TWIN FALLS — Jeffro Uitto works from the inside out.

The Washington-based artist uses driftwood to guide his pieces. He bends and forms the wood into something new. Scraps of nature become tributes to animals.

He finds that starting in the center and building out helps to capture the essence of the animal. He can capture the speed of an eagle mid flight, the strength of a galloping horse or the powerful presence of lion.

“There’s no rules for what you can do,” Uitto said. “You build your own brick walls and if you move past those anything is possible.”

Uitto’s art piece “Lion” was won the grand prize of $12,000 at the ninth annual Art & Soul of the Magic Valley. The winners were announced at an awards ceremony May 4 at the Orpheum Theatre.

Second place to the grand prize was Virgil “Smoker” Marchand of Omak, Wash., for his life-sized metal sculpture titled “Calling the Buffalo.” Third place went to Kenneth Fenton of Fruitland for his recycled stainless steel vase titled “Inspiration.” And in fourth was Travis Emmen of New Plymouth for his life-sized metal sculpture titled “Legend.”

In all, the contest had pieces by more than 320 artists at 105 venues around Twin Falls and awarded more than $42,000 in prize money.

Many of the contest winners will show their entries at the Magic Valley Arts Council’s Twin Falls Center for the Arts, 195 River Vista Place, where souvenir merchandise may still be purchased. For more information, call 208-734-2787.

Youth category

You have free articles remaining.

Become a Member

  • Elementary Grades K-2 Division: first place: Dakota Bennett, Harrison Elementary School; second: Tyson Bucher, Xavier Charter School; third place: Aivah Lucientes, Filer Elementary School; honorable mention: Leah Francom, Rock Creek Elementary School
  • Elementary Grades 3-5 Division — first place: Scout Heatwole, Kimberly Elementary School; second place: Jonas Ahrens, home school; third place: Ellery Rowlands, Xavier Charter School; honorable mention: Cameron Robinson, Stricker Elementary School
  • Middle School Division — first place: Bailey Robinson, Kimberly Middle School; second place: Abby Green, Kimberly Middle School; third place: Jayden Henkelman, Buhl Middle School; honorable mention: Adam Hompland, O’Leary Middle School
  • High School Division — first place: Lakiah Howell, Declo High School; second place: Reece Garey, Kimberly High School; third place: Alayna Geddes, Twin Falls High School; honorable mention: Brayden Norwood, Canyon Ridge High School


  • From the 105 venue locations, the public voted for their two favorites. The award for three or fewer artists and recipient of $150 was the Brass Monkey, which showcased the work of Rosi Martinez Eckert of Buhl and Jay Gale of Kirkland, Wash. The award for venues with more than three artists and recipient of $150 was Premier Autogroup, which showcased 20 artists.

Professionally judged

Artists entered in the main contest were invited to enter the professionally judged competition. Judges were Boise State University art instructors Kirsten Furlong and William Lewis. They viewed the work of all 59 competitors:

  • Two-Dimensional Category — first place: Boise artist Wendy Blickenstaff, drawing titled “Responsibility”; honorable mention: Meridian artist Angela Bowman and Boise artist Marne Elmore
  • Three-Dimensional Category — first place: Boise artists Jim Daniels and Billy Edney, 12 foot by 8 foot paper sailfish and Spanish mackerel titled “Within the Deep.” Honorable mention: Fruitland artist Kenneth Fenton, and Tokeland, Wash., artist Jeffro Uitto.

Low entry

The contest rules accommodate for low entry. The rules stipulate that a $1,000 prize will be awarded if 10 or more artists enter a category. Categories with at least five entries were awarded $500. Winners in each category were:

  • Acrylic — first place: Mary Arnold, Boise; second place: Susan Pritchard, Weiser; third place: Mimi Ford, Buhl; honorable mention: Linda Aufderheide, Twin Falls
  • Ceramics — first place: Camille Johnson, Twin Falls; second place: Genie Weppner, Boise; third place tie: Twin Falls artists Judy Therrien and Paula Dodd
  • Digital — first place: Mikeal Dixon, Jerome; second place: Corey Bridges, Jerome; third place: Sarah Crawford, Meridian; honorable mention: Odalis Ocampo, Twin Falls
  • Drawing — first place: Kay Taylor Affleck, Paul; second place: Kim Ragsdale, Medford, Ore.; third place: Joan Sargent, Kimberly; honorable mention: Sharon Higby, Twin Falls
  • Fiber — first place: Robbie Robertson and Jane Slickers, Twin Falls; second place: Jim Daniels and Billy Edney, Boise; third place: Cindy Newbry, Twin Falls; honorable mention: Karen McClure, Shoshone
  • Glass — first place: Suzi Butler, Eagle; second place: Shahab Fakhr, Twin Falls; third place: Ashley DuBois, Twin Falls; honorable mention: Geri Omohundro, Hagerman
  • Mixed Media — first place: Betsy Horner Morishita, Twin Falls; second place: Kim Syth, Twin Falls; third place: Anne Boyles, Boise; honorable mention: Kurt Pierson, Buhl
  • Oil — first place: Leon Smith, Twin Falls; second place: Floyd Drown, Twin Falls; third place: Kylene Collette, Boise; honorable mention: Ilene Taylor, Blackfoot
  • Photography —first place: Kim Critchfield, Twin Falls; second place: Skye Fassett, Kimberly; third place: Sharon Breshears, Gooding; honorable mention: Stacy Fisher, Marsing
  • Printmaking — first place: Angela Batchelor, Twin Falls; second place: Lynn Vanhoozer, Buhl; third place tie: Boise artists Marne Elmore and Laurel Macdonald
  • Quilt — first place: Cynthia England, Dickinson, Texas; second place: Valorie Williams, Twin Falls; third place: Sue Bickham, Nampa; honorable mention: Stephanie Van Diest, Kimberly
  • Sculpture less than three feet — first place: David LaMure, Jr., Kimberly; second place: John Tatton, Filer; third place: Allen Malaise, Eagle; honorable mention: Char Alexander, Twin Falls
  • Sculpture more than three feet — first place: Eddie and Mary Phillips, Mansfield, Texas; second place: Peter Hazel, Reno, Nev.; third place: Robert Bennett, Buhl; honorable mention: Jeff Jentzsch, Rupert
  • Uncategorized — first place: Russell McCoy, Buhl; second place: Ron Hicks, Twin Falls; third place: Lisa Crawford, Buhl; honorable mention: Shena Bingham, Shoshone
  • Water media — first place: Connie Pepper, Twin Falls; second place: Keiko Yasuoka, Houston, Texas; third place: Roy Mason, Gooding; honorable mention: Leslie Lambert Redhead, Burley
  • Wearable — first place: John Boyer, Twin Falls; second place: Jessica Roe, Twin Falls; third place: Leandra Martin, Twin Falls; honorable mention: Linda and Jim Bosley, Idaho Falls
  • Woodwork — first place: Khiyam Zahroun, Twin Falls; second place: Richard Carpenter, Salmon; third place: Donald Pica, Twin Falls; honorable mention: Kevin Gepner, Twin Falls

Get local news delivered to your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Load comments