By Tammy Scileppi
She has been described as an urban wanderer, foodie, lover of life and all things “Queens” and an authentic New Yorker
Ann Margaret O’Connor, 43, is dedicated to supporting and promoting the diverse artist community in the borough by making sure local creative types are connected and can find opportunities to share their work.
Her contributions to the cultural fabric of Queens have been invaluable. Bringing like-minded people together to do great and fun things is what she does best.
“It is a great honor to be recognized by my respected peers and clients and among friends as a recipient of this award,” said O’Connor, who founded Zoescope Studioworks, where she is the idea person.
“It is a real gift to be able to amplify the vision of these individuals, entrepreneurs, change makers, artivists and leaders, but also have the unique opportunity to collaborate on protecting, projecting and promoting the arts, culture and small businesses of this borough through events, happenings and outreach of all sizes,” said O’Connor.
Describing herself as a recovering corporate type, the longtime Jackson Heights resident has spent many years in various marketing roles in major media companies, and said she was grateful for this opportunity “to work and play as a cultural collaborator to share what I love most about my hometown borough of Queens.”
O’Connor added: “Every day I meet people of all nations and faiths and hear their rich stories, journeys, challenges and successes. They invite me into their homes, work spaces, kitchens, businesses, communities to share and discuss their art and passion projects.”
The challenges faced by struggling artists aren’t quite as daunting, thanks to O’Connor’s giving spirit.
According to Katha Cato, Queens World Film Festival director as well as a friend, O’Connor is the first to step up and say, “I can pick it up for you” or “I will handle the Facebook promotions for you.”
Cato said O’Connor has connected artists with restaurants, boutiques, hotels and offices as viable locations for exhibiting their work. And she has curated openings, festivals, celebrations, street fairs, pop-up art fairs, pop-up holiday craft sales, screenings, exhibits, galas, parties and simple gatherings, “all in the name of bringing people together to celebrate the creative impulse.”
O’Connor also creates press releases, composites, fliers, banners, posters, business cards, flags, contracts, program guides and more for all the creatives she works with. Often for free and in heels.
“I ask her all the time, why does she do what she does and she doesn’t really answer,” Cato said. “I think it is because her joy is in the gathering. She knows that we are all better when we come together to experience stories, paintings, dance.”