The public health crisis gave Dale Fast the opportunity to take more walks through the neighborhood and finish a photography project that captures the wide variety of front doors at homes and businesses.
Now, his project is raising funds to fight domestic violence.
“Doors of Beverly,” a poster created by Fast, is being sold by A New Direction Beverly Morgan Park (AND), which serves victims of domestic violence.
Featuring 46 photos, Fast said, the poster highlights a unique community.
“When many of the homes were built in Beverly, the architects didn’t simply select a generic front door and frame, but they were thinking creatively about how to make the front door a focal point of the house,” Fast said. “It’s pretty special to go around and see the doors in this area.”
Each 2-foot-by-3-foot poster is sold for $45. Sales began in September and are continuing until Oct. 15, in conjunction with Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
As of press time, over 100 posters had been sold, raising over $5,000 for AND.
Doors featured are the entrances to several homes, churches and businesses, including Horse Thief Hollow Brewing Company, and Optimo Hats, which was formerly a Chicago Fire Department station. The welcome sign near the Beverly border on 95th Street is also included.
Jessica McCarihan, AND executive director, said the partnership is perfect because the doors represent entries into places where domestic violence strikes.
“I think the message,” McCarihan said, “is just really powerful for the issue.”
AND also plans to sell the posters during the holidays.
Fast, of Beverly, connected with AND through the recommendation of a friend, Scott Smith, as both are members of the Southwest Chicago Diversity Collaborative.
Fast, who worked at St. Xavier University for over 30 years before retiring eight years ago, has enjoyed photography since he was a student in college. He completed a similar project photographing doors in Mexico several years ago.
After he retried, Fast began working on a local project and took several photos.
“Life took over,” he said, and he was only able to return to the project when the stay-at-home order went into effect.
During his frequent walks through the community, he noticed many creative doors and began snapping photos.
“I just started taking them and collecting them,” Fast said. “I shot about 225 doors.”
Fast said AND has done “all the hard work” in selling the posters.
Reports of domestic violence have increased during the COVID-19 crisis. McCarihan said that calls to the Illinois domestic violence hotline increased in June when the stay-at-home order ended and victims could finally seek help.
“It’s just extremely telling,” McCarihan said. “People were too afraid to reach out with abusers at home. Obviously, the pandemic doesn’t cause domestic violence, but things like stress and substance abuse and job loss, all of these stressors can exacerbate domestic violence situations.”
AND traditionally hosts its annual fundraiser in October, but the pandemic canceled that event.
Instead, AND is holding a sponsorship drive with various donation levels and benefits, as well as a raffle.
A $5,000 donation provides trauma therapy services for one adult and one child for three months; a $2,500 donation provides supplies and child trauma and therapy services to one child for two months; a $1,500 donation provides legal advocacy services for one adult for three months; a $1,000 level covers six months of utilities at the AND office; and a $500 gift provides supplies for child trauma and therapy services and outreach services for three months.
Sponsor benefits include a dinner with a private chef at McCarihan’s home, a “Doors of Beverly” poster, raffle tickets and other recognition depending on the donation.
AND also commemorated the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month on Oct. 1 by visiting the Chicago Police Department 22nd District station, 1900 W. Monterey Ave., to set up a table with information about domestic violence.
As AND continues to seek financial support during these unprecedented times, McCarihan expressed gratitude for the support of people like Fast.
“He’s so sweet,” she said.