"Land of the Sirens" Insiders Tour Leaders
Jack Rasmussen is the Director and Curator of the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center. He previously held Executive Director positions at di Rosa Preserve: Art & Nature, Maryland Art Place, and Rockville Arts Place. He was the owner and director of Jack Rasmussen Gallery in Washington, DC.
Mr. Rasmussen earned his bachelor’s degree in art from Whitman College before launching a long association with American University and notable arts career in the D.C. region. His several AU connections include master’s degrees in painting, arts management, and anthropology; and a PhD in anthropological linguistics. He also served as the university’s associate director of development from 1983 to 1987. Mr. Rasmussen began his career in 1975 as assistant director of the Washington Project for the Arts under founder Alice Denney. He then owned and operated the John Rasmussen Gallery, a vital part of DC’s art scene until he closed in 1983.
From 1989 to 1992, Mr. Rasmussen helped conceive, launch, and operate the Rockville Arts Place in suburban Maryland. He then became executive director of the Maryland Art Place (MAP) in Baltimore, a nonprofit contemporary arts center serving the Mid-Atlantic. In his 10 years at MAP, he curated a series of cutting-edge shows and off-site projects, introduced a new cabaret space, and heightened community involvement.
Mr. Rasmussen’s next post—before the Katzen—was executive director of the di Rosa Preserve: Art & Nature, a contemporary art museum and natural habitat in Napa, California. There, he oversaw the care and exhibition of 2,100 artworks indoors and out, and organized traveling exhibitions to establish the di Rosa’s reputation and identity as the premiere venue for Northern California contemporary art. Mr. Rasmussen is president of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums and is a member of the board of directors for the Amalfi Coast Music and Arts Festival.
Rebecca Ravenal has been a studio artist for over 20 years, working in ceramics and mosaics. She is an Associate Artist at the Torpedo Factory Arts Center in Alexandria, Virginia and teaches classes for adults and children in the DC area.
In her ceramics, she uses a traditional Italian “maiolica” technique which showcases her love for color and fanciful design, while her most recent mosaic work brings together bright bits of stained glass, beads, jewelry and found objects to create intricate, elegant designs. As in her ceramics, she tries to give a new twist to time-honored techniques to create beautiful and useful objects for everyday enjoyment.
Her work has been juried into numerous shows and sold in stores and galleries across the country. She received a degree in English Literature from Bryn Mawr College, then studied at The Corcoran College of Art and Design, and several of the country's top crafts centers, including Haystack, Anderson Ranch, Penland and Arrowmont.
As a board member of the James Renwick Alliance, Rebecca organizes workshops and lectures and other events to increase education and appreciation for craft and art.