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Macalester College names renovated art studio after Joan Mondale

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Instead of calling it the Joan of Art Studio, Macalester College is going with the more dignified Joan Adams Mondale Hall of Studio Art.

Either way, a woman whose life-long dedication to the arts earned her an affectionate moniker will now have her name attached to a newly expanded art building at her alma mater in St. Paul, the Pioneer Press reports.

Mondale, who died in February, was a 1952 Macalester graduate and later served on the college's board of trustees. In announcing the name of the expanded hall, Macalester President Brian Rosenberg noted Mondale's advocacy for the arts and the college:

“Joan combined both passions when, as a trustee, she suggested setting aside one percent of construction project budgets to be used for public art on campus. As a result, the Joan Adams Mondale Hall of Studio Art is filled with sculpture, drawing, painting, printmaking and ceramics, all forms of art that she loved.”

Her husband of 61 years, former Vice-President Walter Mondale, said the decision perfectly fits her years at Macalester.

The Pioneer Press says the renovation and expansion of the studio art building was a $20 million project. The building is part of the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center.

Joan Mondale's devotion to the arts was prominent in the tributes that followed her death at age 83. She worked at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for a time before her husband's political career brought the family to Washington. Mondale used her position as the country's "second lady" as a platform to promote the arts and was later named honorary chair of the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities.

At her memorial service in Minneapolis, former President Jimmy Carter said: “I tried to find a phrase to describe Joan, and I found this one: ‘Live your life as though it was a work of art.'"

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