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The Department of Safety was an artist-run community space founded in 2002, located in Anacortes, Washington's old police and fire station. It housed an all-ages music venue, art gallery, artist residency program, zine library, darkroom, artists' studios and living amenities for a handful of residents. Department of Safety provided hostel accommodations for travelers from 2002 until 2005, when the operators decided to focus on the Artist in Residence program. Department of Safety hosted music festivals, workshops, high school classes, hundreds of concerts, art exhibits, recording sessions, weddings, halloween parties and lectures.
The model of the DoS suggested two years of commitment from residents to work on the space and programming itself while simultaneously giving those individuals access to facilities to focus on their own artistic practice. Residents paid rent and insurance to live in the space; the programming was not subsidized by other means. The building was owned by a local used-car salesman.
The DoS incubated numerous high school and independent music acts and artists. Families were often known to attend events as a unit. Programming reflected a direct commitment to community while also prioritizing national and international talent.
In January 2003 the DoS featured in an episode of The Savvy Traveler radio show.
In 2003, DoS collaborated with the APE Theatre Company to produce a play, Pills, Thrills and Automobiles. The true story told the tragic tale of a group of teenagers who crashed horrifically on the motorway while driving back from a music festival after a weekend of drug taking and sleep deprivation. The work was debated in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.
The Department of Safety ceased operations in February 2010.
Associated artists and projects
Some notable record labels and musicians associated with the Department of Safety are:
- "Getting Out of the Romance: The Department of Safety Calls It Quits". The SunBreak. 29 January 2010.
- Rundown for the Week of January 24, 2003, The Savvy Traveler. Accessed 2012-03-17.
- APE Theatre Company apetheatrecompany.co.uk. accessed 2010
- "What the Heck Fest".
- Fenstermaker, Andy (1 February 2010). "Farewell: Anacortes All-Ages Venue Department Of Safety". FensePost.
- "Aaron Flint Jamison, School of Art + Art History + Design | University of Washington". art.washington.edu.
- Department of Safety website
- The Mercury Summer Fun Action Guide The Portland Mercury, May 20, 2004.