Mary Jo O'Gara is on the faculty of the North Shore Art League in Winnetka, Illinois, where she teaches oil and gouache painting classes. She has received awards for her work at the Barnsite Art Studio, in Kewaunee, Wisconsin, and at Art on the Plaza, Wilmette, Illinois, where she received Best in Show for two consecutive years.
In 2015, Mary Jo provided 65 paintings for a barrier free apartment building for disabled adults in Matteson, Illinois, built by Over the Rainbow, a non-profit organization. This building received the 2016 Vision Award from the Illinois Land Institute. Her paintings have also hung in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Illinois, as well as the Cook County Law Library in Chicago.