One of NCC’s founding members and a long-time advocate for the arts, Joan Mondale, passed away February 3, at the age of 83. She was often called “Joan of Art” for her tireless efforts to promote, advance, support the arts, both close to home and on a national scale. Her work with Northern Clay Center began during the Center’s formative years and she long continued her involvement in the ceramic arts and with NCC as a supporter and a maker of pots. Joan was a long-time student of Warren MacKenzie’s, making pots with the Stillwater potter in his studio until only recently. In addition to her work with NCC, Joan was very active in the development of our sister organization, the Textile Center.
Northern Clay Center’s founding director, Peter Leach, shared some sentiments about the early years working with Joan:
Would Northern Clay Center have happened without the involvement of Joan Mondale? I believe that it would. Was Joan’s involvement from the very beginning of inestimable help? Without a doubt! From her days in Washington, Joan was already familiar with the Baltimore Clayworks and the Philadelphia Clay Studio. I’m certain that she never doubted that a similar organization would succeed in the Twin Cities and the Upper Midwest.
As an original board member, Joan’s enthusiasm and unwavering belief in NCC’s mission opened the doors of numerous foundations and individual donors. She could both ‘talk the clay talk’ and ‘walk the walk’ on the importance of the arts in the community.
Joan’s lifelong work on behalf of the arts is an inspiration to all of us. She will be missed.