ST. PETERSBURG, FL — Take a stroll down St. Petersburg’s memory lane through the “CIRCA” that includes those unforgettable buildings and businesses before St. Pete became a huge tourist market.

If you lived in St. Pete going back to at least 2010 then you remember the colorful doors of the Holiday Motel on Fourth Street North before it was demolished in 2019. St. Petersburg third-generation native and artist, Rebekah Lazaridis, wanted to pay homage to popular spots like Holiday Motel in the city that date back to the 1930s and 1940s with colorful hand-drawn illustrations.

“A lot of the places are disappearing, which is a good and a bad thing,” Lazaridis told Patch.

Rebekah Lazaridis, a St. Pete native, presents her exhibit, CIRCA, that pays homage to the city’s nostalgia at Mize Gallery. (Skyla Luckey/Patch)

Pre-pandemic, Lazaridis worked in acting theatres and when COVID-19 hit plays were halted.

“I loved doing scenery for theatre,” Lazaridis told Patch. “I’ve done a residency at American Stage Theatre, but then COVID hit, and I had to do something else. I started making art that realtors give you for your housewarming gift. The pieces in this show I started doing pre-pandemic, but during the pandemic, I had more time to work on them.”

Lazaridis shares memories with her family and friends at restaurants that were well-known and at long-gone hipster vibe coffee shops like The Globe.

Illustration of China City, a former St. Pete stable closed in 2016, by Rebekah Lazaridis. (Mize Art Gallery/Rebekah Lazaridis)

“China City was one of my favorite places to go,” Lazaridis said. “I just miss their egg rolls. I went there every weekend with my family. I have more favorite places but that’s the first one that comes to mind.”

Chicken Salad Chick opened in China City’s once upon a time home March 2021.

A few memorabilia items from her family are in the exhibit, too, like her grandfather’s clarinet played at St. Petersburg High School and his baseball cleats. Another place special to Lazaridis is Bringe Music on Central Avenue. She remembers going there with her dad a lot as he had his instruments serviced.

Connections and the space these buildings hold in Lazaridis’ heart were recently printed under each of the illustrations at the Mize Gallery during her showcase. Some other pieces include the historic Manhattan Casino, the Deuces Live sign, and the State Theater.

Lazaridis graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago in 2005.

For more information about Lazaridis’ artwork, visit her website.

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