Staff Show 2024: Monica Cohen Lenoff

Meet some of the talented artists on The Phillips Collection’s staff, whose works are in the 2023 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show (on view through February 16, 2024).

What is your role at The Phillips Collection? What is something interesting about your job?
I am a Phillips museum educator. Besides facilitating school and adult tours, we also conduct professional development for educators and get to create workshops that I wish I had when I was an art teacher in the public schools here.

Monica Cohen Lenoff leading a school tour in the galleries

Who is your favorite artist in the collection?
It’s so hard to choose, but I am always drawn to female artists who had to push through boundaries to make it, such as motherhood and their careers. Artists like Alma Thomas, Helen Frankenthaler, and Barbara Hepworth, to name a few.

What is your favorite space within The Phillips Collection?
Honestly, the Family Gallery is the best secret room. It’s a small space with a couch and some art supplies so you can sit quietly and draw. It’s a great place to bring your kids and introduce them to the idea of what a museum is like.

The Family Gallery, located on the second floor of the Phillips House

What would you like people to know about your artwork on view in the 2024 Staff Show (or your work in general)?
I created these florals a couple years after giving birth, when I struggled with major postpartum depression and I was very drawn to flowers for some reason. I didn’t create art for almost two years and the florals helped me come back to my work, almost a way of growing out of this space. I wished people were able to come visit me with my newborn during the beginning of the pandemic when I was very isolated mentally and physically, so the flowers represent the care I needed and didn’t have.

On view in the Staff Show: Monica Cohen Lenoff, Morning Dew, 2023, Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24 in.

Monica Cohen Lenoff, Flamingo Dance, 2023

About the artist:

Monica is a native New Yorker who most recently found her way back to DC after living in the Midwest and Puerto Rico. She holds degrees in Visual Arts Education and Teaching Students with Disabilities. She is an artist and mother who draws inspiration from the world around her and from her personal experiences as a new mom during the pandemic. Since 2010, she has been teaching art to students of all abilities including the deaf and hard of hearing community in DC. She now teaches at The Phillips Collection, as well as privately in her home studio called The Arts Avenue Club.

See more of Monica’s artwork at: