Arts advocate, ex-2nd lady Joan Mondale dies

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Joan Mondale, who became a national arts advocate while her husband was vice president, has died.

Her family says she died Monday surrounded by relatives in Minnesota. She was 83.

Mondale was so passionate about the arts that she was nicknamed "Joan of Art." She herself was an avid potter when her husband Walter Mondale, 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 arts programs.

Carter said Monday that Joan Mondale was exemplary in using public service to advance the arts and other important issues.