Arts and Entertainment

Versatile Biondo named ‘hub’ of Vashon's O

Karen Biondo stands at the center of David Godsey and Janet McAlpin’s wrought-iron gate. - Elizabeth Shepherd/staff photo
Karen Biondo stands at the center of David Godsey and Janet McAlpin’s wrought-iron gate.
— image credit: Elizabeth Shepherd/staff photo

Karen Biondo, an Islander who has been active in the cultural, charitable and culinary life of Vashon, has been named as the chief administrator of O, Vashon’s Open Space for Arts & Community.

In keeping with the organization’s creative spirit and penchant for unusual names, Biondo has been given the title of “The Hub” to describe her role at O.

The organization’s founders, Janet McAlpin and David Godsey, said they chose that title to emphasize that Biondo will be at the center of all communication and activity for the organization.

An administrative assistant has also been hired. Leslie Shattuck, a founder of Vashon’s popular Café Luna, will fill that slot.

O began in 2005 when McAlpin and Godsey purchased a 23,000- square- foot complex of industrial buildings on Vashon that had been a coffee roastery and warehouses.

Since then, the couple has been working to transform the buildings into a facility that provides well-equipped, flexible and affordable space for arts and community events.

Parts of O, located at 18870 103rd Ave. SW, have been open and in use for almost a year.

The founders are excited to have Biondo at the helm of O.

“Karen has already become indispensable,” McAlpin said. “She has a cheerful spirit, is very organized and maintains a ‘can- do’ attitude. We are lucky to have her on board.”

Biondo, 54, brings an impressive range of experience and accomplishments to her new job.

Since moving to the Island nine years ago, she has coordinated numerous community programs and events. In 2002 and 2003, she coordinated Bite of Vashon, a benefit for the Vashon Maury Community Food Bank. For the past two years, she was a principal organizer of the Vashon Allied Arts Garden Tour.

She has also worked with the Island’s Lavender Festival and volunteered with Voice of Vashon radio as an on-air personality.

Biondo is co-owner of K-Jo Farm, an organic produce and livestock farm in Paradise Valley that she runs with her partner Joe Walling. K-Jo Farm was a featured farm for the King County Harvest Festival from 2001 to 2005.

Prior to moving to Vashon, Biondo lived in Port Orford, Ore., where she was also active in the community, running a café and co-creating such unusual events as the Tuna Festival and the annual Rock Skipping Tournament. She has also owned guest resorts in Oregon and Maine.

Biondo, wearing her trademark red glasses, said with a broad smile that she is thrilled to be a part of O.

“It’s great to be a part of such a positive vision,” she said. “Living in community is performance art, and O is here to inspire creative living on Vashon and beyond.”

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