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MY VISIT to three art shows this past week gave me a chance to act as judge and/or juror - two unofficially and one officially.

The three shows included the ninth annual Intercollegiate Student Art Show in the Alvin Gittins Gallery at the University of Utah, the 17th annual All-State High School Show in the Springville Museum of Art, and the Utah American Mothers' Fine Arts and Crafts Exhibit at the ZCMI Center.

Awards had not been posted in either of the first two shows, so this gave me an opportunity not to be influenced by other judges. And assuming these judging responsibilities prepared me for officially jurying and judging the third one - the Utah American Mothers' Exhibit.

- Bad weather was blamed for the lack of entries in the 1989 Intercollegiate Student Art Show in the Gittins Gallery. But I sense that the problem is more extensive than that.

Many of the best art students in colleges and universities around the state are not being attracted to this show. I don't know the reasons, but I do know this - that unless this annual exhibit gets a shot in the arm, it'll be history.

The fact is, there is much better work currently being produced by art students in colleges and universities across the state. I've seen it as I travel to many of these schools' annual exhibits.

It was reported that well over 200 entries were received for this show. About half were accepted. Even so, there are a few too many; a handful of inferior works lowers the quality of the show by a couple of notches.

Over half of the exhibit is made up of entries by U. students. Utah State University students are fairly well represented, especially in photography. But Brigham Young University students only have six works - four sculptures and two ceramics. And there are only a smattering of works from Weber State College and Salt Lake Community College.

Fortunately, there are a few gold nuggets among the pyrite.

My "unofficial" awards go to Russell Case for his watercolor "Last Shadows"; Bengt Washburn for his painting "Chair No. 2"; Margret Lloyd for her commercial art entry "Deco"; Cordell B. Taylor for his sculpture "Shadow Dancing"; Melanie Swann for an untitled ceramic piece; Lillian V. Larson for her print "The Dancers"; Jim Bredehorn for his photograph, "Window of Clouds"; and Mark Ashton for his jewelry.

And my vote for best-of-show award goes to Heather Hadlock for her painting "Purple Line."

- Bad weather wasn't a deterrent to those who entered works in the 17th annual All-State High School Show in Springville. According to Lila D. Larsen, some 60 schools submitted 800 entries.

During the jurying process, that number was reduced to 280. The "survivors" are now on display in the galleries and halls on the main level of the museum.

Official award winners will be announced Feb. 25, the same day representatives from colleges and universities will be at the museum to interview students for scholarships.

But let's take a look at my list of winners.

I was especially impressed with these drawings: Lara Farmer's "Veiled Man," Michael Havey's "Winter" and Nathan Durrant's "Poultry and Pliers."

Entries in oil and acrylics were generally weak. Exceptions are Tiffany Twitchell's painting of a discouraged football player, Jared Sanders' oil of a boy playing a trumpet, Nathan Durrant's "Taipei Transitions" and Dianne Koeber's "Fruit Baskets."

Successful watercolors included David Stevensen's "Splat" and Pam Turner's watercolor filled with floral designs and geometric shapes.

Other works should be spotlighted: Katheryn Stott's batik, "Laura, My Sister"; James Snow's pastel drawing; Andy Buckles' two untitled drawings; David Dunston's "Classic Still Life"; Randee Rouse's pastel; Melissa Mason's photograph "Front Row Seat"; Jenni Clawson's fiber/sculpture "Eclipse"; and Joe Ashton's large ceramic piece.

- Several fine entries were submitted in this year's Utah Mothers' Association Art Exhibition in the grand court of the ZCMI Mall. But the call for entries did not attract work by most of the top women artists in the state.

Jurying the show was relatively easy, as was selecting top award winners. LaVon Merrill walked away with the best-of-show award for her superb pastel portrait "Almine."

This work now moves on to the national competition, hopefully to win another award. For the past two years, Utah's entries have won first place in the national competition.

Much like the high school show, this women's exhibit was weak in oil painting.

Kaye Greenhalgh captured first place in oil for "Elk in Snow," followed by Tami Pugh for "Double-O Arch" and Sylvia Hinton for her small "My Tow-headed Toad Hunters."

The fresh, spontaneous colors in Shirley Degles' "Summer's Perk" caught my eye and I awarded it first place in works on paper. Other awards in the watercolor medium went to Lori Wenerstrom for "Good night, Nikki" and Ruth Hewlett for "Arches."

Gisele Nash won first place in sculpture for her attractive clay sculpture of a mother and her daughter.

Crafts in this exhibit were judged by another individual.

Unfortunately, the women's show enjoyed only a brief stay in the Grand Court of the ZCMI Center. It was installed Wednesday and taken down yesterday.

However, the other two exhibits are still going strong. The ninth annual Intercollegiate Art Exhibit remains at Alvin Gittins Gallery at the U. (581-8677) through March 1. The All-State High School Show '89 continues at the Springville Museum of Art (489-9434) through March 8.