Mathematical Connections in Art, Music, and Science

A Nonprofit Corporation

Mission Statement and Structure

January 2006

Board of Directors:     (Updated, July 2007)

President:  Reza Sarhangi, Department of Mathematics, Towson University, Maryland, USA

Secretary:  Mehri Arfaei, Department of Mathematics, Towson University, Maryland, USA

Board Member:  George W. Hart, Computer Science Department, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, USA

Board Member:  Craig Kaplan, The David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo, Canada

Board Member: Carlo Séquin, Computer Science Division, EECS Department, University of California at Berkeley, California, USA

1.  Introduction

The International annual conference of Bridges: Mathematical Connections in Art, Music, and Science was created in 1998 and is conducted annually. It has provided a remarkable model of how seemingly unrelated and even antipodal disciplines, such as mathematics and art, can be crossed. During the conference, practicing mathematicians, scientists, artists, educators, musicians, writers, computer scientists, sculptures, dancers, weavers, and model builders have come together in a lively and highly charged atmosphere of mutual exchange and encouragement. Important components of this conference series, apart from formal presentations, are gallery displays of visual art, working sessions with practitioners and artists who are crossing mathematics-arts boundaries, and evening musical or theatrical events. Furthermore, a lasting record of each Bridges Conference is its Proceedings – a beautiful resource book of the papers and the visual presentations of the meeting.

The birthplace of the conference was a private liberal art college in Kansas, Southwestern College.  After a few years the conference grew and found new places to be hosted such as Towson University, Maryland, the University of Granada, Spain, the Banff Centre, Canada, the University of London, England.  Other future host cities are Athens, Greece, and Holland.

The founder and the director of this conference is Reza Sarhangi, a Mathematics faculty member at Towson University.  The normal size of the conference is about 150 participants.  However, since the conference reaches the public by providing mathematical art exhibits, musical events, public lectures, and theater shows, the number of attendees in some cases reaches more than five hundred.  Most participants are faculty members from colleges and universities that try to cross other disciplines to find new ideas and develop new ways of teaching mathematics and science using tools empowered or borrowed from disciplines such as art and music.   

What makes this conference special can be summarized as follow:
  1. A large number of individuals, who are in the education, scientific, or artistic parts of developing software utilities, in the area of “mathematics and art” are regular participants of the conference.
  2. A large number of individuals who are developing manipulative tools for creating or teaching ideas in connection between mathematics and other disciplines participate in the conference and present their findings. They range from the kindergarten level (to teach simple geometric objects) to the graduate level (to present very sophisticated polytopes by projecting four dimensional objects to three dimensional spaces). 
  3. The conference always has attendees who authored or are in process of writing interdisciplinary books or are developing packages for teaching undergraduate general education courses or honors classes in the connection between mathematics and art.
  4. The conference also includes visual art, music, education, and business corporations that seek resources or individuals that can make short movies, animations, and DVDs (such as programs that can be seen on PBS).   
After years of organizing Bridges conferences, it seems necessary that a non-profit corporation should be established that not only continues the annual conference but also expands its related activities.

2.  The Objectives of the Bridges Corporation

The objectives of the Bridges Corporation, which has evolved from the goals and objectives of the Bridges Conference series are as follow:
  1. Introduce participants to innovative and integrative techniques that promote interdisciplinary work in the fields of mathematics and art.
  2. Allow mathematicians and artists who are crossing the mathematics/arts boundaries opportunities to present their work, meet each other, and exchange ideas.
  3. Offer encouragement and inspiration to teachers of mathematics, science, and art at all levels by revealing relationships between mathematical subjects and their artistic/aesthetic presentations.
  4. Provide participants with an opportunity to improve their understanding of fields and disciplines outside their primary area of study.
  5. Offer visual displays and performances of mathematics related art.
  6. Produce interdisciplinary resource materials such as conference proceedings books, CDs and DVDs for documenting the works of artists and scientist, or for educational purposes. 
3. The Bridges Corporation Plans to Reach its Objectives

The field of mathematics and art is healthy and growing, as evidenced by a series of major conferences in the past few years, including the Art and Math and ISAMA conferences (organized since 1992 by Nat Friedman), the Bridges conferences (organized since 1998 by Reza Sarhangi), and art exhibits at the joint AMS/MAA annual meetings (since 2003). The 2005 Renaissance Banff Conference, jointly organized by BIRS, CMS, and Bridges included many education-related mathematics and art presentations. At these meetings, there has been much cross-fertilization of educational ideas, but now the field is ripe to do some large-scale planting. We can move from a collection of small individual efforts to a group push with significant impact.

The purpose of this corporation is to make a centre for collaboration of mathematicians, scientists, educators, scholars, and artists from both inside and outside academia to not only continue the tradition of holding the annual Bridges Conference, but also to develop innovative artistic or educational tools, such as software utilities, movies, textbooks, and other types of productions, and disseminate them among colleges and university, corporations, and government educational agencies.

The corporation will also be involved in other activities such as organizing public lectures, concerts, workshops, and art exhibits in topics related to the objectives of the corporation.

The Bridges Corporation will attract grant proposals and grant writers for developing books and textbooks, artistic productions, or instructional technology tools and resources.

4. The Structure of the Bridges Corporation

The Bridges: Mathematical Connections in Art, Music, and Science is a Nonprofit, Non-Member corporation with no voting members that is run by its Board of Directors votes.

The Board of Directors consists of a President, a Secretary, and three Board members.

The Board of Directors are selected for a period of four years.  A Board of Director member may be selected indefinitely.   During the last six month of the fourth year, the Board of Director members vote for a new member.  In case a Board of Director member resigns or deceases in between a period, the other members select a new member to complete that period.

All other specifics about the structure of this corporation have been established in the corporation Bylaws.