About the Project

Participant Biographies


Christine Andreae is an organizer of the project. She is a novelist and free-lance journalist who has studied botanical drawing at the Corcoran College of Art + Design. Her work was shown at the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s 2006 exhibit “Botanical Treasures of Lewis and Clark”. She has also shown her work at Blandy Farm Virginia State Arboretum and at the National Agricultural Library in Bethesda, Maryland. In 2007 she was commissioned to create a decoration for the White House Christmas tree. www.christineandreae.com

Debbie Bankert, a former real estate broker, is a full-time artist who specializes in botanical subjects. Her works have been shown at the U.S. Botanic Garden, the National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, Maryland, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art's "Botanical Treasures of Lewis & Clark" exhibit, as well as in the Corcoran College’s 2007 juried student exhibition. Her works have been in numerous juried shows in Virginia where she has won several awards. She holds a certificate in Botanical Art and Illustration from the Corcoran College of Art + Design. Debbie is a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists and the Botanical Art Society of the National Capital Region.

Janet Brome is a retired teacher of gifted children who now works as a full-time artist in Limeton, Virginia. Her paintings and sculptures have been shown at galleries in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Washington DC, and Nebraska. In 2005 she received a grant from the Marion Park Lewis Foundation for the Arts. She has taught painting at Lord Fairfax Community College and conducts workshops in watercolor and oil painting in Front Royal and Berryville, Virginia. www.janetbrome.com

Esther Carpi has a degree in Environmental Design and worked as a design professional for many years before becoming a full time artist. She is currently studying botanical art and illustration at the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, DC. Esther is an active member of the Garden Club of Virginia and produces a Garden of the Month feature article for the Club’s website. Her illustrations have been published by the Hunting Creek Garden Club in Alexandria, Virginia. She is a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists and the Botanical Art Society of the National Capital Region.

Meta Carr is currently a student in the certificate program in Botanical Art and Illustration at the Corcoran College of Art + Design. With a master’s degree in International Relations, Meta worked in the federal government for several years before turning her attention fully to painting. She has exhibited her works at Green Springs Gardens in Fairfax, VA, and at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD. She is a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists and the Botanical Art Society of the National Capitol Region.

Wendy Cortesi is a botanical artist and natural science photographer with a special interest in showing time lapse changes and close-up details often missed by the casual observer. Along with Leslie Exton, she was one of the organizers and contributing artists of the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s “Botanical Treasures of Lewis and Clark” exhibition. Her work has also been shown at the Byrne Gallery in Middleburg, Virginia, the U. S. Botanic Garden, the Alexandria Athenaeum and the Cosmos Club. She recently completed a commission from Laura Bush to paint twelve watercolors depicting native plants of Camp David, where they are now hanging. She is a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists and the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators.

Lara Call Gastinger is an artist and botanical illustrator from Charlottesville, Virginia. Currently, she is the chief illustrator for the Flora of Virginia Project, a reference manual for botanists in Virginia. She is a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists, McGuffey Center for the Arts in Charlottesville and the Virginia Native Plant Society. She has exhibited in the Horticultural Society of New York’s annual exhibit and at the Royal Horticultural Society garden show in London (February 2007). She was awarded with the highest honor of a gold medal at the RHS show. Her work is represented by Susan Frei Nathan Fine Works on Paper. www.laracallgastinger.com

Eileen Malone-Brown is a student in the Corcoran College of Art + Design’s Botanical Art and Illustration certificate program and a lifelong gardening enthusiast. She is a member of the Botanical Art Society of the National Capital Region. As a registered nurse for more than thirty years and former nurse practitioner, Eileen retired from the Army in 2004 having served twenty-six years in many leadership positions. She continues her healthcare work today as a consultant and volunteer.

Vicki Malone trained as a personal chef and ran a catering business before becoming a full-time artist. She holds a Certificate in Botanical Art from the Corcoran. Her watercolors and a quilt honoring Sacagawea were exhibited in the “Botanical Treasures of Lewis and Clark” exhibit. In 2004 Vicki received the Kenneth Stubbs Memorial Award for "outstanding ability in drawing and painting" from the Corcoran. Her paintings have been shown at galleries in Washington, DC, and in Maryland.

Gail McIntosh received a BFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and studied with Antonio Berti, Director of L'Accademia delle Belle Arti in Florence, Italy. She has been an illustrator in Charlottesville, Virginia and her work includes botanical illustrations for Gather Ye Wild Things and Wildflowers on the Windowsill, written by Susan Tyler Hitchcock, and many botanical and other paintings for Monticello.


Christine Andreae is the project director as well as a participanting artist and contributor to the exhibition website. Her previous work as an organizer includes co-founding a conservation advocacy group and helping establish a shelter for abused women.

Patricia Zontine is an organizer and researcher for of this project who contributed the biographical material on this website. She is a historic preservationist who served as an Advisor from Virginia to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She was the Coordinator of Shenandoah University’s Civil War Interpretive Visitors’ Center from 2002-2005 where she oversaw exhibits and planning for the University’s new History and Tourism Building. She was also the founding President of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley.

Eileen Malone-Brown, RN MSN MS, is a participating artist and exhibit website contributor. Since retirement she has helped to lead and organize national healthcare iniatives associated with the creation of healing environments.

Jack Robertson has been Foundation Librarian at Monticello for the past ten years and has nearly 25 years prior experience as a Fine Arts Librarian at the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University. He has curated over 100 exhibitions in the libraries where he has worked, including several recently at the Jefferson Library for which electronic exhibition catalogs were provided.

Eric Johnson is the web developer for the online portion of this project. He is the Web Services Librarian at Monticello and has worked in museum and library settings for sixteen years. He holds an additional graduate degree in history and has a particular interest in 18th- and 19th-century science and natural history. He also serves as webmaster for the Virginia Forum, the annual Virginia history conference, and for several other nonprofit organizations.


Guy Meriwether Benson, a past President of The Meriwether Society, has extensively researched the Meriwether and Lewis families who settled on the original Nicholas Meriwether Grant, which includes the families of Lucy Meriwether Lewis Marks and her first husband William Lewis.

Leslie Exton is the curator for the botanical art in this exhibit and is a contributor to the exhibit’s website. She was one of the organizers and the curator, as well as a contributing artist, of the Corcoran Gallery's 2006 exhibit "Botanical Treasures of Lewis and Clark." At the Corcoran College, she is an Associate Professor of Painting, Program Head of the Department of Drawing and Painting, and Coordinator of the Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate program. In 2001 Leslie published Things as They Are, a collection of botanical drawings and paintings by her Corcoran students. A graduate of the University of Florence, Italy, her work is represented by Margery Goldberg of Zenith Gallery, Washington, DC.

Peggy Cornett is the director of Monticello’s Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants, a program designed to preserve and propagate historic plants and to educate the public about the origins of garden plants in America. She is the editor/publisher of Twinleaf, the Center’s annual journal and catalogue and the author of Popular Annuals of Eastern North America 1865-1914 published by Dumbarton Oaks in 1985.

Wendell Combest, Ph.D., is currently a Professor of Pharmacology at Shenandoah University School of Pharmacy and Adjunct Associate Professor at the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi . He received a Ph.D. in pharmacology at the University of Arizona School of Medicine and did postdoctoral training at Vanderbilt University and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Schools of Medicine. His research interest is in complementary/alternative medicine with a specialty in the safety and efficacy of medicinal plants.

Jane Henley is a retired special education teacher with a life-long interest in gardening and in history. She is a direct descendent of Meriwether Lewis’ sister Jane Lewis. Her grandfather, Dr. Meriwether Lewis Anderson, was born at Locust Hill, the home of Lucy Meriwether Lewis Marks and her children. Jane is a founder and past president of the Locust Hill Graveyard Foundation, and has served as president of The Locust Hill Graveyard Foundation, Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, Inc., its Home Front Chapter in Charlottesville, and the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center of Virginia. She is currently living in Weems, VA.

Kathleen Maier, AHG. PA is a practicing herbalist at Sacred Plant Traditions, a center for herbal studies in Charlottesville, Virginia. Her training as a Physician’s Assistant allows her to translate the language of medicine we know today and ground it in the wisdom of earth-centered practices known for millennia. She is very active locally with United Plant Savers and the restoration of native plants and the preservation of fragile ecosystems. www.sacredplanttraditions.com

Todd L. Savitt, Ph.D., is an historian of medicine who teaches history and medical ethics at East Carolina University School of Medicine. His primary research interests are African-American medical history and medical history of the American West and South. He is the author of Medicine and Slavery: The Diseases and Health Care of Blacks in Antebellum Virginia and co-author of Disease and Distinctiveness in the American South.