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Unconventional Minds

21st Century Arts for the Exceptionally Curious Student

Welcome. My name is Ari Kalinowski, and I am excited you are visiting. I teach creative writing, creative coding and game design to inquisitive students who think outside the box. I also teach important supplementary skills like self-awareness, organization and portfolio development. Furthermore, I embed important thematic orientations that are vital for success in the 21st century economy: ecological concern, data literacy and civics. These skills refine my students’ creative and technical abilities, clarify their sense of purpose and improve their educational and occupational attainment.

Because of my graduate studies at Brown and RISD, my studio time at the Design Office and Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, my work at Eyebeam and Buzzfeed and my 10+ years of collaboration with psychologist Dr. Marcia Eckerd, I am uniquely poised to rapidly advance my students’ interests. On this site, you will find detailed descriptions of my services, sample projects and a contact form for getting started. I look forward to hearing from you and discussing future opportunities for collaboration with you and your child.


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Creative Writing

I teach poetry, science fiction, creative non-fiction, interactive fiction with twine and how to collaboratively write with AI with transformer. This writing work can be supplemented with design strategies for publishing via posters or websites.

 
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Metacognition

I teach project-based metacognition (aka self awareness). I help my students begin to identify the questions that will captivate them throughout their careers and I help them discover what’s unique in their approach that will eventually make them masters of these questions.

 
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Ecology

Ecology will be a driving force of 21st century employment, events and narrative. Ecosystems can be understood through monitoring, modeling, simulating, diagramming and mapping. There are a variety of computational ecology tools I teach and share with my students.

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Creative Coding

I teach programming with p5.js, computer graphics with three.js and digital project management with glitch. Additionally, many visual techniques from the graphic design field supplement and enhance this creative work.

 
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Executive Function

I teach project-based executive function (aka project management): how to divide projects into pieces, set deadlines, understand the different phases of the creation process, track back and forth between the details and big picture, etc. These skills will transfer to other domains.

 
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Data

Just as oil was the resource that powered the 20th century, data is the resource that will power the 21st. An understanding of data, data science and digital platforms are absolutely necessary for success in the 21st century. Throughout my tutorials, my students and I discuss these themes and experiment with new platforms.

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Game Design

I teach 2D and 3D game design using unity. Along the way, we may touch upon 2d asset creation in illustrator or 3d asset creation in blender. Furthermore, we may collaboratively study basic user interface and user experience principles.

 
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Portfolio Development

I help my students package their work into a portfolio that can be shown to future collaborators, employers and colleges. I help them learn how to clearly differentiate their practice from other practices (aka age appropriate branding and marketing).

 
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Civics

Joining associations, participating in local government, partnering with companies and volunteering are essential due to the rise and prominence of digital communications networks. When working with my students, we often engage with, learn from and partner with other organizations.


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Principal Mentor: Ari Kalinowski

I am passionately committed to helping my students prepare for creative careers in the 21st century. I hold a BA from Columbia in Poetry and Comparative Literature, an MFA from Brown w/a full scholarship in Creative Writing and Computer Science, and an Eyebeam-Buzzfeed Art & Technology Fellowship. Additionally, after my MFA, I was awarded a visiting faculty position at Brown that allowed me to complete two years of coursework at RISD’s Digital Media Arts Program. Here are some subjects I’m currently researching in order to teach them in the future: digital mapping with mapbox, data visualization with d3, augmented reality with 8th wall, virtual reality with spoke, machine learning with ml5 and branding and marketing for young artists. Please be in touch if you’d like to discuss these experimental areas of research and teaching. References are also available upon request.


STUDENT WORK #1: MULTI-MEDIA PROJECT

This multi-media project was created by a student and included in his portfolio to School of the Art Institute of Chicago (where he was accepted). Press “left arrow” or “right arrow” to select a different scene and then “enter” to navigate to that scene. You’ll encounter some audio, some videos and some texts; it’s a story of a kind. Enjoy!

STUDENT WORK #2: VIDEO GAME

This a game created one of my students created during an independent study over the course of a semester. It features “procedural level design,” i.e. game levels that always change their shape and form and are never the same. Feel free to play it!


Is This Your Child?

Is your child smart, curious, quirky, artistic or technical? These are the kinds of kids that tend to succeed with the mentorship and skills I deliver. This student is usually between 15 and 22 and is already adapted to working in the online environment (all my mentoring takes place online).

He or she is able to function in a structured educational setting and has a peer/friend group (i.e. is not socially isolated), but is seeking the encouragement and challenge it takes in order to soar in his or her field of interest.

How To Get Started:

Parent Consultation: use the form to the right to set up an initial free 45m consultation. We will discuss numerous aspects of your child’s development, goals we may want consider for the mentorship and in some cases, a prospective timeline for portfolio development.

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