MINNEAPOLIS - Joan Mondale, who built a reputation as a national cultural arts advocate while her husband was vice president, has died.

Her family issued a statement through their church saying she died Monday afternoon with family by her side.

Mondale was so passionate about the arts that she was nicknamed "Joan of Art." She herself was an avid potter when her husband Walter, then a Democratic U.S. senator from Minnesota, was elected Jimmy Carter's vice president in 1976.

Carter named Joan Mondale honorary chairwoman of the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities. She traveled frequently to museums, theaters and artists' studios on the administration's behalf, and lobbied Congress and the states for more spending on public arts programs.

"With the death of Joan Mondale, the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party lost a friend and the arts community a passionate advocate," said Minnesota DFL Charmain Ken Martin, in a statement.

"Joan will be remembered for her service and dedication to our state and country. From Minnesota to Washington D.C. to Japan and back, Joan was a true partner with former Vice President Walter Mondale.

Martin said that Joan left a great legacy in the Arts community, from creating her beautiful pottery to serving on the boards of the Minnesota Orchestra, Walker Art Center, Macalester College and the National Portrait Gallery.


"On behalf of the DFL, our sympathies go out to Vice President Mondale, Ted, Bill and their families," Martin said in the statement.

Gov. Mark Dayton and President Barack Obama were among the politicians who offered condolences to the Mondale family.

"In an era when most political wives remained in the background, Joan Mondale stood right by her husband's side. Together, she and Vice President Mondale forged a path, which took them from the State Capitol, where he served as Attorney General; to the United States Capitol, where he was a U.S. Senator; to the White House, as Vice President; and to Tokyo, as U.S. Ambassador to Japan," Dayton said in a statement.

"Through her contributions to the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities and the Kennedy Center, she passionately advocated for the role of art in the life of our nation and the promotion of understanding worldwide. Our thoughts and prayers are with Vice President Mondale and his family today as we remember with gratitude "Joan of Art" and her service to our nation," Obama said in a statement.

Mondale was 83-years-old.