Living Museum:

A Protected Space, Where Art Comes Calling:

If Dr. Janos Marton ran the world, there would be protected spaces everywhere for people with mental illness to create paintings and sculptures, drawings and lithographs, installations, murals and collages, poetry and novels, songs and symphonies.

The abandoned buildings on the grounds of old state hospitals would be turned into sheltered workshops.

Warehouses in urban centers, where the mentally ill pace the streets and scrounge meals from garbage cans, would become safe harbors, working studios filled with color and form.

Delusion and hallucination, pain and sorrow, fear and manic exuberance would find their outlet in something quite simple, the creation of works of art.

Dr. Marton’s vision is hardly an idle one. At the Living Museum, housed in Building 75 of the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens, the state hospital’s former main kitchen and dining areas, he is the director of just such an “art asylum,” a refuge where in the 19 years since the museum opened more than 800 men and women have shed their identities as psychiatric patients and bloomed instead as artists…

In a recent interview, Dr. Marton discussed the museum’s goals and the relationship between art and mental illness… NY Times