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Jim Phillips to receive top arts award

by BILL BULEY
Staff Writer | September 14, 2022 1:09 AM

COEUR d'ALENE — As far as David Groth is concerned, Trigger Weddle did the impossible.

As an artist working with students at Sorensen Magnet School of the Arts and Humanities, Weddle did a "phenomenal job," said Groth, a member of the Coeur d'Alene Arts Commission.

Weddle is the artistic director for Aspire Community Theatre.

"Kids just really engaged with her," Groth said.

Following about an hour and a half of discussion on Tuesday at City Hall, Weddle received the nomination from the Arts Commission to receive the Mayor's Awards in Arts for Support of the Arts.

"She did a lot of great work and a lot of great work with youth," said Jennifer Drake, another Arts Commission member.

About 15 nominations, some from commission members, were received for the city's 26th annual Mayor’s Awards in the Arts.

They will be presented Oct. 5 at the Hagadone Events Center.

"We have a great slate here to pick from," said Mary Lee Ryba, Arts Commission chair.

Jim Phillips, longtime music instructor at Coeur d'Alene High School and an accomplished musician, received the top honor, which is the Excellence in the Arts nomination.

Ryba said Phillips "is the man in music in education in Coeur d'Alene."

She said she admires Phillips for helping students reach for higher goals than they otherwise might have.

Commission members said they were impressed with Phillips for his dedication as a teacher and his extensive music involvement in the community, as he performs with symphonies.

"I just think Jim Phillips is very deserving," said Priscilla Bell, Arts Commission member.

The Arts in Education nomination went to Deborah Loy-Linde, Bryan Elementary School arts teacher.

Ryba said Loy-Linde fosters community partnerships to promote and fund art projects, and her students' work is displayed throughout the city.

Abigail Stephens, a violinist and a student at Coeur d'Alene Charter Academy, received the Student Excellence in the Arts nomination.

Ryba described her as a "very impressive young lady."

"She is going to be famous," Ryba said.

The Mayor’s Awards in the Arts "recognize and encourage excellence in the arts and to stimulate and support awareness of the arts throughout the community."

Nominees included those who "made a significant contribution to the arts in Coeur d’Alene."

Groth said the quality candidates made their job both difficult and rewarding.

"It's always such an exciting time to see the quality of people contributing to the arts," he said.

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