The Smithsonian American Art Museum has hired Jane Carpenter-Rock as deputy director for museum content and outreach and promoted Eric Nastasi to deputy director for administration and finance. Carpenter-Rock will oversee the museum’s departments for Education, Conservation, External Affairs and Digital Strategies and the Research and Scholars Center. Nastasi will oversee the museum’s Administrative Office, Registrar’s Office, Exhibitions and Publications, as well as manage strategic partnerships. Nastasi’s appointment begins immediately; Carpenter-Rock joins the museum staff March 14.
“I am delighted to bring Jane Carpenter-Rock back home and to promote Eric Nastasi into new leadership roles at the Smithsonian American Art Museum,” said Stephanie Stebich, the Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. “We face new challenges ahead, from the future of work to the heightened social justice role museums must now play in public life. Amidst a shifting environment requiring more financial resources and greater operational nimbleness, I am confident Jane and Eric will provide management excellence in support of the museum’s national programs.”
Carpenter-Rock adds museum management and leadership experience from 20 years at the U.S. Department of State. She served in various roles including public affairs officer at the U.S. 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 orientation division at the Foreign Service Institute. While at the State Department, Carpenter-Rock spoke regularly to the public and published about the history, skills and tools of American diplomacy. She also serves on the editorial board of the Foreign Service Journal.
Carpenter-Rock earned 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). As a student, Carpenter-Rock participated in two of the museum’s prestigious programs. She was a curatorial intern through the museum’s advanced level program (1995-1996) and a predoctoral fellow at the museum (2000-2002). Her dissertation was titled “Conjure Woman: Betye Saar and Rituals of Transformation, 1960-1990.” She is the author of Betye Saar, part of the David C. Driskell Series of African American Art (2003).
Nastasi joined the museum staff in 2019 as senior advisor to the director. Previously, he was division director for advancement and partnerships at the Smithsonian Science Education Center. He is an attorney by training, with experience as both in-house counsel and law firm practice. Prior to joining the Smithsonian in 2013, Nastasi served as a member of the advisory board for the Smithsonian Science Education Center (2009-2012), the governing board of the Arlington Arts Center (2011-2014) and the governing board of Artisphere (2011-2013). He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (1991) and a JD degree from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (1994).