ST. PAUL, Minn. – Joan Mondale, who burnished a reputation as “Joan of Art” for her passionate advocacy for the arts while her husband was vice president and a U.S. ambassador, died Monday. She was 83.
Walter Mondale, sons Ted and William and other family members were by her side when she died, the family said in a statement released by their church. The family had announced Sunday that she had gone into hospice care but declined to discuss her illness.
“Joan was greatly loved by many. We will miss her dearly,” the former vice president said in a written statement.
Joan Mondale was given a grand platform to promote the arts when Walter, then a Democratic senator, was elected as Jimmy Carter’s vice president in 1976.
Carter named her honorary chairwoman of the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities, and in that role she frequently traveled to museums, theaters and artist studios on behalf of the administration.
The avid potter lobbied Congress and states to boost public arts programs and funding.
She also showcased the work of prominent artists in the vice presidential residence, including photographer Ansel Adams, sculptor David Smith and painter Georgia O’Keeffe.
Her daughter, Eleanor, died in 2011 after a long battle with brain cancer.