Art museum

The Smithsonian American Art Museum appoints two new assistant directors

Images courtesy of Eric Nastasi and Jane Carpenter-Rock

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has hired Jane Carpenter-Rock as assistant director for museum content and outreach and promoted Eric Nastasi to assistant director for administration and finance. Carpenter-Rock will oversee the museum’s departments for education, curatorial, external affairs and digital strategies and the center for research and scholars. Nastasi will oversee the museum’s administrative office, registrar’s office, exhibits and publications, and management of strategic partnerships. Nastasi’s date begins immediately; Carpenter-Rock joins the museum staff on March 14.

“I am thrilled to bring Jane Carpenter-Rock home and promote Eric Nastasi to new leadership roles at the Smithsonian American Art Museum,” said Stephanie Stebich, Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. “We face new challenges, from the future of work to the increased role of social justice that museums must now play in public life. Amid a changing environment requiring more financial resources and greater operational agility, I am confident that Jane and Eric will provide management excellence in support of the museum’s national programs.

Carpenter-Rock adds 20 years of museum management and leadership experience to the US State Department. She has held various positions, including Public Affairs Officer at the United States Consulate General in Cape Town, South Africa (2013-2016) and Deputy Director of the National Museum of American Diplomacy (2018-2021). Most recently, Carpenter-Rock was director of the counseling division at the Foreign Service Institute. At the State Department, Carpenter-Rock regularly addressed the public and published on the history, skills, and tools of American diplomacy. She also sits on the editorial board of Foreign Service Journal.

Carpenter-Rock holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of William & Mary (1992), a master’s degree from Howard University (1995), and a doctorate from the University of Michigan (2002). While studying, Carpenter-Rock participated in two of the museum’s prestigious programs. She was a curatorial intern in the museum’s advanced level program (1995-1996) and a pre-doctoral fellow at the museum (2000-2002). Her thesis was entitled “Conjure Woman: Betye Saar and Rituals of Transformation, 1960-1990”. She is the author of Betye Saar, part of the David C. Driskell series on African American Art (2003).

Nastasi joined the museum staff in 2019 as a senior adviser to the director. Previously, he was Division Director for Advancement and Partnerships at the Smithsonian Science Education Center. He is a lawyer by training, with experience as both in-house counsel and a law firm. Prior to joining the Smithsonian in 2013, Nastasi served on the advisory board of the Smithsonian Science Education Center (2009-2012), the board of trustees of the Arlington Arts Center (2011-2014), and the board of directors of Artisphere ( 2011 -2013). He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (1991) and a JD degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (1994).