Milton Schwartz

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 word."


Copyright 1997 Jeffrey Knapp and Tamara Hendershot