When David Godoy was working on “Night Owls,” his painting for Belonging 2023, he imagined the two birds talking to him, like they were all friends. He’s always been intrigued by owls, especially the sounds they make, and before he started painting he spent time learning about them. “They are not strangers to me,” says David, a front desk associate at Main Street. “Everything I do, musically and artistically, there’s a connection, a deep connection.”

Born with cerebral palsy, a disorder that can affect movement, coordination and muscle tone, David knew as a child that he would have obstacles to overcome. When he was growing up in Ecuador, other kids told him there was no way he’d ever walk, go to school or learn another language. “Just watch me and see,” he’d say. Years later, he earned his certificate in general education at Montgomery College. At 42, he’s now a saxophonist, swimmer, cyclist, and an ambassador for the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run.

Inspired by his sister, Daniela Godoy, a professional artist, David started painting two years ago and finds symbolism in everything he creates. As he thought about the branches in “Night Owls,” he envisioned them with arms and legs. “I didn’t want it to look like just regular branches—I wanted those trees to come to life,” he says. He describes the lighting as both a sunset and a sunrise. “It’s the ending of the nighttime and the beginning of the new day.”

For Faith McLuckie, this year’s member art exhibit was an opportunity to tell a story about bravery. In her painting, “Faith and Snowball Chillin,” she’s sitting with the little Maltese who joined her family this past February. “I was afraid of pets my whole life,” she says. “That’s why I got a dog, to overcome my fear.” Now Snowball likes to curl up on Faith’s pillows. The dog nibbles a bit, in a playful way, but they’re working on that. “We’re getting her a trainer,” says Faith, who works at Main Street’s front desk. An artist at the VisAbility Art Lab in Rockville, Faith started painting when she was little, she says, and last year someone purchased one of her pieces, called “Mermaid,” after seeing it at Main Street.

Tiffany Griar, a new Main Street member, submitted “3D Rose” in honor of her dad, Dwayne, who passed away in 2019. “Me and my dad were like road dogs,” she says. “He was a funny guy. He liked to dance and listen to music—Prince, George Clinton, old school music.”

Tiffany learned about Main Street when she visited the Soulfull Cafe with her mom earlier this year. She started participating in programs virtually—Space of Belonging, Music City Workout, Bake with Sharon—before moving to Montgomery County in July. When she found out about the art exhibit, she decided to submit a colorful painting she’d made last year at The Arc of Katy in Texas. She’s excited to have her artwork hanging in the gallery at Main Street. “[It’ll be like], ‘Wow, Dad, you’re actually here with me,’ ” she says. “I’m here, and I’m gonna get my own apartment soon and live independently. He wanted me to do things in life, so: I made it, Dad.”