Dear friend of the Lovecraft Arts & Sciences Council,
Greetings from Providence! We hope this finds you and your family well and healthy – and managing to keep sane despite the madness of the world around us.
We at the Lovecraft Arts & Sciences Council work hard to bring people together from around the world, to cultivate a sense of community through exciting and unique programming, and to foster camaraderie among kindred souls. We strive to provide a welcoming home here in Providence for all members of the vibrant and diverse Weird community, and we’re proud of our success over the past eight years.
NecronomiCon 2019, our biggest event yet, saw over 2,000 folks gather in Providence to share their passion for the Weird. And our retail store continues to garner rave reviews as a “must-visit” and “treasure” for its unique selection and helpful staff. These are just a few ways that our organization enriches our city and the global Weird fiction community.
Today, on this Giving Tuesday, we’re asking for your help.
The Lovecraft Arts & Sciences Council is a nonprofit organization. We manage to do what we do with minimal staff – just two paid employees that help run our storefront in Providence. The rest of our operation relies on a squad of dedicated volunteers — of which I am one, squeezing in work for the organization between the tasks of my real job.
Our programming — the convention, the Tour de Tentacle, our author readings, etc. — is either free or as affordable as we can make it, often barely breaking even. As a barebones nonprofit that relies on the help of dedicated volunteers, we greatly depend on the income from our store and some small grants and donations to keep our doors open, literally and figuratively.
Given the obstacles presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re faced with a grave threat to our organization. For the safety of our customers and staff, and to abide by Covid restrictions, our store was closed for the first few months of the pandemic, and is now open for limited hours just three days a week. We managed to stay afloat thanks to a small Payroll Protection Program loan early in the pandemic, but that money has long been exhausted. And of course, because of travel restrictions and well-founded worries about the virus, tourism to Providence — our organization’s lifeblood — has been nonexistent relative to previous years.
We’re now in what should be the busiest time of the year, when holiday shopping normally would bulk up our revenue to get us through the slow winter months ahead. Instead, given the pandemic’s resurgence, we’ve just had the four worst weeks of sales we’ve ever experienced. And we’re faced with possibly having to delay planning for the event that most helps us generate funding and support for the rest of the year – NecronomiCon Providence.
While we haven’t made any decisions yet, the preparation needed for such a complex, multifaceted convention requires a lot of moving parts and critical planning several months in advance, all very difficult to do right now. We’ll know more and be able to make a better-informed decision soon, but for now….
The situation is dire.
Without the ability to gather in person for events and without government aid to sustain our physical operations, we’re faced with making even harder decisions. To make matters worse, our beloved Providence Arcade, the historic building where we’ve made our home for over five years, has seen substantial losses due to the pandemic. We’re now the only remaining retailer in the building. The ramifications of this are devastating.
So, for only the second time in our existence, we humbly extend our hat – knowing full well that a lot of you are struggling, too, and realizing there are many other worthy potential recipients of your generosity. But given the existential obstacles we currently face, we truly need your help.
If you’ve enjoyed our programming over the years – NecronomiCon Providence, the Arcade Asylum author series, the Tour de Tentacle rides, our hosting of the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival — or shopping in our quirky little store, or simply wish to support our existence as a beacon of Weird in a banal world, we ask that you please consider donating to us.
Our goal is to raise $30,000 to pay off increasing debts and bills for merchandise and supplies, wages for our employees and payroll taxes, our lease and insurance coverage, to keep the lights on, and give us enough to get through to next summer when we anticipate some return to normalcy.
I appreciate you reading this far. It goes without saying that 2020 is the most unusual and devastating year in recent memory. Countless businesses are lamenting irreparable losses and financial ruin. But as we’ve done our best to be there for you, we need you to please come through for us now. A contribution in any amount will mean the world to us. We promise to repay our debt by continuing to be a welcoming home for fans of the Weird the world over.
Best wishes for a safe and happy saturnalian holiday season!
With sincere and utmost gratitude,
Director, Lovecraft Arts & Science Council