An interview with Rich Alapack of we all live here

Who are you, Rich?

I started we all live here. We are artists and citizens of the world that seek to include all who want to participate in our work.

My background is in internet monetization via digital advertising, with pioneering stints at Careerbuilder, Crave Online, Kiip, and Tumblr. Prior to starting we all live here, I was the first Creative Director of the Chicago based startup Popular Pays. And I came to the States from Canada to play baseball.

 

What do you care about most?

I founded we all live here as a way to remind people to get along and help each other succeed. Racism, hatred, segregation, inequality, and violence are all major issues for Chicago that we are trying to tackle by working with kids to create a generation that rejects these thoughts entirely because they are raised with we all live here. But we’re still early on in that process. 

 

How did you land on your current profession and (notably awesome) lifestyle? What were the most important steps that got you to where you are?

 

I wanted to use my creativity for a greater purpose than creating ads. So I jumped off the proverbial cliff and left the advertising and tech industry to pursue making we all live here a real business. The most important thing people need to know is that when you're starting out in business there is no perfect plan. Once you get started all the things you planned will be out the window anyway. So you might as well stop trying to develop the perfect plan and just start executing. That way you're making progress because the doubts never go away. Just start. 

What does a typical workday look like for you?

Typical workday starts with me rolling out of bed 10 minutes before sunrise so I can try and capture the epic beauty like this.

I then walk my Great Dane Benson for an hour and consume copious amounts of coffee. Some of my street art is done in chalk to symbolize the ongoing struggle against racism and hatred so I will retouch some of the local ones on the morning dog walk if necessary. Then I start working on social media around 8 am and my meetings begin around 9. 

 

Where have you travelled to this past year?

This year I've been really busy with work so I haven't travelled as much as usual. I went to Nicaragua though. If you are looking for paradise, book a trip to Maderas Village outside of San Juan Del Sur. It's like a creative class mecca of wellness, great surfing, scenery, and the most welcoming and friendly people. And their food is fantastic. I still haven't been to Australia or New Zealand and I have to go. Maybe next year.

 

How have your relationships shaped you?

Every relationship is like a chapter in the story of your life. Sometimes they're good chapters and other times they're not so good. But they always contribute to who you are as a person moving forward.

 

What else are you working on?

Right now we all live here is doing a really ambitious public art project in collaboration with Chicago artist Hebru Brantley and the Chicago Children's Choir. On Election Day, we are going to fly a banner in the name of Hope and Equality over all Chicago neighborhoods. Backers of our project (www.gofundme.com/chibanner4equality) get to put their name on the banner. We are trying to get as many names on the banner as possible so that we can make the statement that even though Chicago is segregated geographically, there are many of us that aren't segregated mentally. We are trying to create a positive news story for our city, and to let people in less fortunate neighborhoods know that we care about them and we are coming to help with we all live here programs to make things better. 

 


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