Avid Promoter of the Arts and 'Second Lady' Joan Mondale Passes Away; President, First Lady Release Statement

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Joan Mondale, who was an avid promoter of painting, sculpture and other fine arts, as well as the wife of former Vice President Walter F. Mondale, died today, February 3, 2014 in Minneapolis. She was 83.

The White House just released a statement by the President and First Lady on Mondale's passing.

It reads: "Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to former Vice President Walter Mondale and his family on the passing of Joan Adams Mondale. America first came to know Joan through her husband; she was his devoted partner in public service, from Minnesota to Washington. A lifelong patron of the arts, Joan filled the Vice Presidential mansion with works by dozens of artists, including many unknowns, and later did the same at the U.S. embassy in Japan during her husband's tenure as ambassador. 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."

Read her full obituary in The New York Times.

Mondale gave tours at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and wrote POLITICS IN ART, a book for young adults, in 1972. She also campaigned for the Department of Transportation to turn railroad stations into art galleries and auctioned off donated art to raise money at political events.

After her husband became Jimmy Carter's vice president in 1977, Mondale served as de facto arts adviser of the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities. She began to showcase American art each year at the United States Naval Observatory.

She continued to promote the arts when her husband became the US ambassador to Japan in 1993 by loaning art from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles for the ambassador's residence in Tokyo.

She also crafted her own pieces as an amateur sculpture, and following the end of her husband's political career, continued to back the arts in Minnesota, including serving on the boards of the Walker Art Center and the Minnesota Orchestra.

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