Mount Weather

Mount Weather, oil; enamel on steel, 46x46: each. Shadow Show, Real Artways, Hartford, Ct, 2005

The Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center is a United States federal government facility located off Virginia Highway 601 near Bluemont, Virginia. The U.S. government has revealed little about Mount Weather to date, although it has acknowledged its basic existence and stated purpose. It houses operations and training facilities above ground for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and contains an underground facility designed to house key components of the American government in the case of nuclear warfare or other calamity.Mount Weather is a central part of the American Continuity of Operations Plan. During the September 11, 2001 attacks a line of government cars and limousines with police escort was seen heading from Washington D.C. to Mount Weather.The site gained wider public recognition when The Washington Post mentioned the government facility while reporting on the December 1, 1974 crash into Mount Weather of Flight 514, a TWA Boeing 727.It has been suggested that Former Vice President Dick Cheney has been at Mount Weather from time to time since the September 11, 2001 attacks, as it is the quintessential "secure undisclosed location," though he was known to have taken shelter at the Site R (Raven Rock) installation in the days immediately following the attacks. Since September 11, 2001 Mount Weather has seen a dramatic increase in staffing and support.This nine-panel text piece examines the history, locale, and mythology of Mount Weather. It has been painted on road sign steel, as part of its nature is to point the way (imaginatively, socially, and morally). Whether or not it was used after 9/11 isn’t really important –it (and other such facilities) exists and helps to shape our preconceptions about shadow government : the nature of democracy in crisis. We were all kids once, wondering about underground tunnels, plans for disaster, and how we would eat, drink, and play in such a situation. Now that we are grown up, it’s even more important to give it some thought.