York City government officials, economic-development pros and businesspeople are hoping to reinvent York through the talents of creative people. Allow us to introduce you to the folks who could be the key to unlocking York's future. Using video, photos and text, we're putting together a database of sorts, showcasing local artists of all stripes. Check out the other artists we've tracked down and featured. We call this section "I Art York."
They started with a love of radio and a list of 10 names, mostly friends they figured they could summon for a one-hour recorded interview.
Patrick Mendoza and Walter Knaub launched the Underground Lounge in September 2012 with the goal of bridging the gap between local musicians and fans.
And then they met Ronn Benway -- a local musician with a big personality who hosts open mics and plays in several York-based bands.
Benway's knowledge of York's diverse music scene opened their eyes to many more potential interview subjects.
"That was like opening the floodgate," Mendoza said.
The Underground Lounge now features 40 podcast episodes on its website, www.loungeonline.net.
Each episode is about an hour long and features a half dozen or so of the artist's original songs performed exclusively for the broadcast.
They've achieved about 10,000 downloads traced to 70 countries, Mendoza said.
"We kind of just expose the personality of the artist while sharing the music in a stripped-down format," he said.
Mendoza, 30, grew up in Dallastown but lives in York City now.
He graduated a year ago from the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, where he now works as an admissions counselor.
The Underground Lounge is the graphic designer's primary creative outlet these days.
Every episode features an artist tied to York in one way or another.
For example, a strength of York's music scene is its proximity to major cities like Philadelphia and Baltimore. Many touring artists book shows in York between gigs in bigger cities.
Having found an appreciative audience in York, they keep coming back, Mendoza said.
Local musicians frequent the area's many open mics, he said.
"York runs the gamut as far as a music scene could go," Mendoza said. "You could find a free, enjoyable set of music on any given night of the week."
HOW HE WOULD IMPROVE YORK'S ART SCENE: Mendoza said he believes York's negative reputation for crime is its biggest obstacle. City and county officials need to work together to fight that perception, he said. "Once we are able to work together and attract people from the county into the city and show them that it's not this dark, dangerous place like some people think it is, then I think we'll be able to make it to the next step," Mendoza said.
WHERE TO FIND HIM: Episodes of the Underground Lounge podcasts are available at www.loungeonline.net.