A native of Seattle, Jack Rasmussen earned his BA in Art from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA, before moving to Washington, D.C. to complete a MFA in Painting, a MA in Arts Management, and a MA and Ph.D. in Anthropology at American University.

Rasmussen worked in the Education Department of the National Gallery of Art before becoming the assistant director of the Washington Project for the Arts when it opened in 1975. He left this position to open the Jack Rasmussen Gallery, one of the first commercial galleries to move to downtown Washington, and then helped launch Rockville Arts Place, served for ten years as the executive director of Maryland Art Place in Baltimore, and three years as executive director of the di Rosa Preserve: Art & Nature, a contemporary art museum and natural habitat in Napa, California.

Rasmussen has been director and curator of the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington, D.C., since it opened in 2005. He also currently serves on the Maryland State Arts Council.