When Milton Schwartz first saw the poster for the National Exhibit of Art by
the Mentally Ill, which features an enlarged photograph of one of his collages--hand
printing on manila folders with small photographs and illustrations from magazines and
catalogs--Milton said, "What's 'mentally ill'?"
Thrilled nonetheless, he put the poster on the wall of his room.
The next time I was there, though, the poster was up, but the
wall shone through in the space where he had cut out "Mentally Ill." A few weeks
later, the poster itself was gone.
Milton lives on the second floor of the Delta House, an
"adult congregate living facility"--a half-way house--for the "mentally
ill" on Miami Beach, across the street from the Bass Museum, the library, and a
nightclub, two and a half blocks from the ocean, but quite a world apart. Most of the
Delta House's inhabitants spend the day sitting on rows of folding chairs in the front
room, waiting for the next scheduled activity--lunch, distribution of medication, dinner.
But Milton Schwartz, sixty-something "retired textile salesman" and artist,
spends his days praying to Jesus and making collages that "spread the good
Copyright © 1997 Jeffrey
Knapp and Tamara Hendershot