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Martin Murk’s Artistic Gift

April 11, 2019

Martin Murk, a native of Wisconsin and current resident at Three Pillars’ Village on the Square independent living, has a creative gift meant to be shared.

Martin Murk's artwork above the fireplace in the entrance of Three Pillars Senior Living Communities' Village on the Square Independent Living senior apartments
Martin Murk's artwork sits atop the Village on the Square fireplace to welcome all who enter the building.

As a young man he studied at the Layton School of Art and set out as a freelance artist after college. An avid outdoorsman, his passion for Wisconsin wildlife went hand in hand with a natural knack for painting it. In 1977 he won the Federal Duck Stamp Competition, which opened additional doors that led to his numerous achievements and honors. He went on to win Wisconsin’s 1979 Trout Stamp and the 1980 Wisconsin Duck Stamp Contest. He designed Wisconsin’s first Great Lakes Salmon and Trout Stamp in 1982 and won the 1989 Inland Trout Stamp Contest. To date, he’s been Artist of the Year for several organizations, and his works have been exhibited nationally in galleries and museums such as the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Milwaukee Public Museum, and more.

In retirement, Martin and his wife Vera decided a move to Three Pillars’ Village on the Square was the perfect next step for them. In April of 2017, they settled into their new home and it didn’t take long to get acquainted with their new space and neighbors. They quickly made new friends and began building relationships for this rich chapter of their life.



I realized there must be something about artists that attracts them to each other,” Martin recalls fondly.


Three Pillars residents Martin & Vera Murk
Martin and Vera Murk

As the Murks became accustomed to life at Three Pillars, it was impossible not to notice how many of their new neighbors were artists, as well. From painters to woodworkers, knitters, crafters, and even egg decorators – Martin was naturally drawn to them.

The next year, in 2018, Three Pillars’ Village on the Square interior design committee began a refresh of the main entrance area. There was an opportunity to put up a new piece of artwork over the lobby fireplace, which would be the focal point of the space and one of the first things seen upon entering the building.

The residents and staff knew just who to ask, and Martin generously took on the project of creating a custom piece to welcome all who enter the building. With a nod to our local wildlife, his idea was to weave majestic animals throughout the branches of a tall tree. He put his ideas to a sketch pad and soon, the magic began. Martin wanted to bring a bit of the outdoors in, and he did so masterfully for all to enjoy.


Martin Murk's pencil sketch on paper of a tree with Wisconsin wildlife.
Martin's ideas to bring a bit of nature indoors turned from thought to sketch to masterpiece.

“There are several very talented people who live here, and many who are active in the community, involved with hobbies, and more,” says Martin. “When we realized there was an opportunity to do something special with the space above the fireplace, I was honored to create this piece. It represents one small way the people at Three Pillars make great contributions.”

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