Almost exactly seven years ago, Hilary Sholin joined the Honolulu Museum of Art team as the development associate. Since then, she’s grown into the larger role of development officer overseeing general memberships and annual fund programs. To say Sholin is a staple of the development team would be an understatement.

Sholin heads straight upstairs to the 18th to 20th-century American Art Gallery to locate her favorite painting, Kaaterskill Falls on the Catskill Mountains, Taken from Under the Cavern. Created by William Guy Wall in about 1827, the oil painting depicts a nature scene so awe-inspiring, we think Kant would call it sublime. 

As a hiker, Sholin is naturally drawn to the piece—but the nature landscape offers her so much more. “I really like that you’re in the cave and looking out,” Sholin says. “It kind of makes me feel like I’m at work and I’m looking out into the great, wide world. It inspires such a sense of wonder in me because these people are down here and the light is hitting them and they’re looking up at the awesome landscapes and the cool light and waterfall.” (She’s also a fan of the Bob Ross-like “happy little trees.”)

“Just as this painting inspires a sense of wonder so does this museum in my life,” she continues. With a background in music, Sholin always liked museums but never dived deep into what she calls the “art side of things.”

“Working here has been really cool to unlock my visual art side and be more attuned to these types of details rather than auditory details.”