About the Grant

$35,000 to support The 51st (dream) state (MAP 2005), a new performance work by Sekou Sundiata that features a richly evocative cycle of songs, poems and monologues supported by multi-media images that examine “the state of the union.”

About the Project

Stanford Lively Arts will present the world premiere of Sekou Sundiata’s The 51st (dream) state. This groundbreaking multi-disciplinary experience, commissioned by Lively Arts, features acclaimed poet and performance artist Sundiata presenting a poetic sequence of songs and spoken word enriched by video projection and live music. The work explores “the state of the Union” by examining what it means to be both citizen and individual in a deeply complex, post-9/11 society. It raises insightful questions such as, “What does the ‘pursuit of happiness’ mean?” and “Given the multilingual reality of the U.S., what is the American language?” The 51st (dream) state is a profound contemplation of America’s national identity.

The 51st (dream) state is the result of a growing relationship between Sundiata and Stanford University which has included previous collaborations and a visiting professorship. Stanford’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts and Committee on Black Performing Arts will partner with Lively Arts and play central roles in the project’s unique residency program. Working with students and faculty, as well as youth and senior citizens in local underserved communities, Sundiata will explore American identity, civic dialogue, democracy and art as a tool for activism. In addition, he will work with student artists to integrate multimedia elements in their own performances. Most importantly, this project will enable Lively Arts to deepen its collaborative partnership with the artist, campus organizations, and community while furthering its goal of commissioning and presenting premieres of significant new works by important artists.
Sekou Sundiata
Sekou Sundiata


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