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Q&A with Kimberly Goff of the Elaine Benson Gallery

Kimberly Goff has been an integral part of the East End community for most of her life. Whether its operating a boutique, running a gallery (including the esteemed Elaine Benson Gallery), or serving as a Board Member at one of the area’s many non-profit institutions, Kimberly has done it all. Her latest role is that of curator for a series of art exhibits at the Children’s Museum. With “Mostly Fish” currently on display through August 1, we thought this was the perfect time to speak with this renaissance woman about her connection to the East End, the importance of community involvement, and her return to curating.

Can you tell us a little bit about your connection to the East End?

I’ve been in Bridgehampton since I was a teen…I even went to the Hampton Day School when they had an upper school. I opened a boutique on Bridgehampton’s Main Street when I was 19. When that closed in 1986, I took a few years off to paint in Mexico. Eventually, I came back to work with my mother, Elaine Benson, at her gallery and continued there until 2006 when it closed. I then became a partner at Benson Keys Arts in Southampton. Since that ended, I’ve been painting and giving whale watching tours in Mexico (where I’ve spent the winters for 40 years).

Why is it so important for you to play an active role in the community?

I think the question is really: How could I not be active? It’s an automatic thing. If you’re at all open as a person, you help out where you can. I’ve served on many Boards on the East End…the Children’s Museum, the Bridgehampton Child Care Center…I currently serve on the Board for the South Fork Natural History Museum. I succeeded my mother at the John Steinbeck Committee at Southampton College. Being active in the community has always been high on my list as well as my mother’s. In fact, people used to say that my mother was the “unofficial mayor of Bridgehampton.”

You were instrumental in the Museum’s success during our early days. What’s it like being back in the capacity of exhibit curator?

It’s a homecoming. I was on the Board and coming back into the building is like coming home. I’m thrilled to be curating again. It’s wonderful for me to have a venue, but I also hadn’t realized how much I missed curating. It’s like putting on an old comfortable pair of shoes. I’m in my element.

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