MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - 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.

President Barack Obama is praising Joan Mondale for her contributions to arts and global understanding.

Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are sending their condolences to the Mondale family and said they are grateful for her service to the country.

In a statement, the Obamas said Joan Mondale was a lifelong patron of the arts who filled the vice president's residence with work from dozens or artists. They said she did the same thing when her husband later became U.S. ambassador to Japan.

The Obamas called her a passionate advocate for the role of art in American life.