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Amy Steinhaus Kirwin is the chief creative officer of Guild Hall. (Photo credit: David Benthal)

Since 2021, Amy Steinhaus Kirwin has brought her brand of inclusive, energy-infused, multi-platform strategic support to Guild Hall as its chief creative officer. With the arts center’s renovation set to complete this summer, Kirwin is excited to usher in a new era at East Hampton’s 90-plus-year-old institution. 

“I like that I have a broadly creative role. I tend to have these jobs that are hard to define in one sentence. I envy someone who can say, ‘I sell shoes!’ ” she laughs. “I can’t do that because I do so many different things, but that’s how I’ve always been.” 

Born in New Jersey and raised in Los Angeles, Kirwin studied theater and film at the University of Kansas, with an eye toward becoming an actor. A scholarship landed her at New York’s Circle in the Square theater, and that behind-the-scenes magic turned into the part that inspired her the most. Kirwin spent 15 years in myriad supporting and lead roles, notably as part of the team that opened the premiere-focused nonprofit 59E59 Theaters, as the brains behind forging the partnerships supporting the Broadway Concierge program, and stints with the Broadway League and Tony Awards. 

She met and fell in love with her Southampton-raised husband, leading to positions in programming at The Parrish Art Museum and as artistic director at Southampton Art Center. It was there, while staging a performance of “The Vagina Monologues,” that she met Rebecca Edana, and their mutual love of performance and cooking (Kirwin also currently produces Guild Hall’s “Stirring the Pot” series) was the impetus for their LTV-filmed cooking show, “Two Jews Making Food” (, now in its third season and shown Tuesdays on Channel 20. 

““I like that I have a broadly creative role. I tend to have these jobs that are hard to define in one sentence,” says Kirwin. (Photo credit: David Benthal)

But Kirwin’s favorite production? Her annual August Float Party in Peconic Bay. For the day-long, open-invite event, she ropes together giant, bright pool floats, using sandbags to keep them in place once out in the water. Other floats get linked in as friends and acquaintances join in the fun, and Kirwin hosts the biggest salt-water party on the East End. 

“I have a dream of it being so big that you can see only floats and no water. I thrive on being creative and coming up with big ideas.” 

Here are a few of Amy Kirwin’s favorite things:

Favorite place for a fancy cocktail Good Ground Tavern at Canoe Place Inn & Cottages, especially when it’s nice and I can go to the outdoor bar.

Favorite casual spot to chill and grab a beer Canal Cafe in Hampton Bays.

Favorite store to get all the ingredients for a great beach picnic

Citarella, Round Swamp Farm, or Justin’s Chop Shop in Westhampton Beach.

Favorite place to shop for a splurge on awesome cooking gear To splurge — Loaves & Fishes Cookshop, but you are more likely to find me strolling the aisles of Home Goods in Wainscott.

Favorite fishmonger Lighthouse Seafood (formerly Cor-J) in Hampton Bays 

Favorite beach For the bay: Peconic Bay near Meschutt County Park because it’s literally steps from my house. For the ocean: Main Beach, East Hampton

Favorite place to bring visitors from out of town I can’t name just one! Longhouse Reserve; Peter Marino Art Foundation; a leisurely drive through the estate sections in Southampton and East Hampton villages; Montauk (which has to include dueling lobster rolls at The Lobster Roll and the Clam Bar); and, of course, Guild Hall!

Favorite historical spot Southampton African American Museum

Favorite old-school eatery Villa Paul and John Papas Cafe 

Favorite farm stand or grocery for inspired ingredients Nurel’s and Serene Green year-round, and Marilee’s Farm Stand, especially when garlic scapes are available

Favorite time of year  June, just as things start to pick up and warm up, but it’s not totally crazy yet.