Naomi Wilzig, Founder of the World Erotic Art Museum in Miami Beach, Awarded Pink Flamingo Award
One of the more unique winners (best tourist attraction) is the World Erotic Art Museum. This Museum is host to a collection of over 4,000 pieces, which you can see at their Washington Avenue location, right at the corner of 12th Street.
Naomi Wilzig is a prominent member of the Miami Beach community and Founder of the Museum. When asked how she started collecting erotic art, she mentions her son. “I first searched for erotic art at the request of my son, Sir Ivan (Billboard Top 10 recording artist). He was moving into a new apartment and asked me to find him some erotic conversation pieces.”
Being raised in an Orthodox Jewish home, Wilzig had very little knowledge about erotic art, but the more she discovered, the more she grew to love the form. “It was an adventure to find him a few pieces and [it] opened a new field of art into my life. I found out it was hidden away, and thereafter devoted years to searching it out to bring it into the public eye. I became addicted to the search to discover unknown treasures.” This hobby would then turn into five books and countless lectures about human sexuality at local colleges.
When seeking a location for the Museum, there were some road blocks. Many cities around the country just wouldn’t allow her to open up an erotic Museum in their jurisdictions. Not surprisingly, Miami Beach stepped up to the plate and the planning board voted unanimously to let her open in her current space.
While talking about diversity, Wilzig showcases an extensive LGBT erotic art collection within the Museum. The great thing about her journey has been how much the process has opened her mind to human sexuality. It’s an amazing story that she highlights, “Searching for erotica changed my whole life, made me a liberated, educated thinker. It made me an open-minded [and] more tolerant person.
My life was quite cloistered and close-minded before that.”
Naomi has been honored with many accolades over the recent years, including recognition by CNN, Fox News and the Miami New Times. Many local magazines have listed her as an innovator, a creator, and a power figure in the community, not to mention that numerous charities have benefited from her generosity.
She speaks frequently about the role of erotic art in the world and the nature of artistic freedom in the country. The First Amendment Lawyers Association had her address their recent meeting as a “hero” of the First Amendment. Next week she will address the local organization, Citizens Interested in the Arts about her history in this field.
In 2011 she was awarded an honorary doctorate in Sexology and Erotology from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, in San Francisco, California, and also awarded The Business Person of the Year Award, from the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. At the age of 78, that’s pretty astonishing, but she’s not stopping any time soon, she continues to speak at events about sexuality and art, in addition to running her Museum. We can’t wait to see what pieces she finds next!
The World Erotic Art Museum
1205 Washington Avenue, Second Floor
Miami Beach, FL 33139