Augustana College senior art major Anh Ta, a native of Hanoi, Vietnam, has been awarded the prestigious Harold Spitznagel Medal for Achievement in Art, the highest award presented by the Augustana Art Department. Ta is only the second international student to receive the award, intended to recognize student-artists who demonstrate the highest standards of excellence in all their artistic endeavors throughout their Augustana careers. The award was presented Friday May 2 during the opening reception for the 2014 Senior Art Show in the Eide/Dalrymple Gallery, is only bestowed occasionally and has been given only three times since 2007.


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The architecture of Harold Spitznagel, which spans over 45 years of practice, constitutes one of the most profound influences on the imagery of South Dakota and its history.

Harold’s collaboration with such state artists as Palmer Eide and Ogden Dalrymple in much of his work reflects one or more facets of his progressive attitude. The Sioux Falls City Hall is one of his most visible early works. Out of Harold’s relationship with Augustana College art professors, Robert Aldern and Carl Grupp, and his connection to the art world, came the idea for a medal to be awarded to outstanding students recognizing their achievement in art.

Sculptor Ogden Dalrymple was the designer of the cast for the original medal. The front side of the medallion incorporates the religious symbolism of the old and new testaments. The Shield of David, or hexagram, is used in temples throughout the world and denotes the Holy Trinity. The cross, of course, is the Sign of Christ, and the circle, triangle, and square are basic art forms. The reverse side depicts the “Tools of the Master Builder,” or the traditional instruments used by architects.

The medal is sanctioned to be given by a representative of Spitznagel’s firm to a recipient at the Augustana Senior Art Show, only if the art professors believe the student or students
qualify. In some years, no medals may be awarded, and in others, multiple medals may be awarded.

“Spitz” was honored with many awards during his career, including the South Dakota Arts Council’s Governor’s Award and the Memorial Art Center’s Artistic Achievement Citation.

Harold was a wonderful teacher, a fun-loving friend and a great inspiration to all those who had the opportunity to know and work with him. Harold T. Spitznagel, founder of TSP, Inc., passed away on April 26, 1975. He was a dedicated architect, a near perfectionist, and believed in quality design. He also believed that best efforts are always warranted because that is why you were chosen by your client to design the project.

Congratulations to Anh Ta on this amazing accomplishment.