J. Mari Hardway looks like the talent she is.

Anyone who knows the downtown York City music scene has noticed the girl with the beautiful voice, djembe and beret.

Last year, Hardway got very sick. The debilitating illness took a toll on the young Springettsbury Township woman, leaving her dependent on a wheelchair and cane as she worked to regain her strength.

Despite those challenges, Hardway never lost touch with the musicians and artists she considers "family."

"The rehab that I got was from this local arts and music community," Hardway, 28, said. "There was a family there, a support system."

On Wednesday, Hardway was among the dozens who turned out to hear more about a possible artist-housing project in the city. A henna artist and trained vocalist, Hardway said she is intrigued by the idea of living among other creative people.

But, if the Artspace York project becomes a reality, Hardway wants to be sure its developers include accessibility in their plans -- even if she's not the one who benefits from it.

Hardway said she made that clear when she took a survey, which launched online Wednesday, to gauge the potential viability of a project in York.

Artspace is a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that formed in 1979 with the goal of providing long-term affordable housing for creative people.

Since its beginning, Artspace has completed 35 projects across the country, said Roy Close, the nonprofit's vice president of special projects.

York City wants to be next.

To create some buzz, state Rep. Kevin Schreiber, D-York City, and city officials hosted a survey launch party Wednesday at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center. State Rep. Stan Saylor, R-Windsor Township, is also lending support.

The survey will be available at at the Artspace site until March 19. Creative people throughout the region, especially those intrigued by the Artspace concept, are encouraged to take the survey.

Artspace uses the survey to determine how many units a particular community can support. Household income is among the questions Artspace asks of its survey takers.

Because the projects are primarily funded with federal low-income housing tax credits, residents cannot earn more than 60 percent of the area's median income. A two-person household, for example, would qualify with income of less than $33,000 annually.

Close estimated rent in York for a two-bedroom apartment would be about $800. That includes studio space -- a hallmark of Artspace projects -- and utilities, he said.

Artspace will study the survey's results and deliver a report to the city in May about the viability of a project, Close said.

Last year, several Artspace representatives visited York to make a preliminary judgment.

"We came away thinking, yes, there definitely is potential," Close said.

-- Reach Erin James at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.