The Pittsburgh Foundation

Literary Artist Tameka Cage Conley Named The Eben Demarest Fund’s 2013 Grantee

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 11, 2013 --  The Eben Demarest Fund at The Pittsburgh Foundation announced that literary artist Tameka Cage Conley, PhD., has been given the annual grant award for 2013.

A 2012 nominee for the Pushcart Prize for Poetry, Ms. Cage Conley’s work has been published in Huizache: The Magazine of Latino Literature, Fledgling Rag, Chapter & Verse, and Callaloo. Her first play, “Testimony,” was produced by The August Wilson Center for African American Culture in Pittsburgh, while subsequent plays have been performed in Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, and Sydney, Australia.

With the support of her family, Ms. Cage Conley recently decided to forego paid teaching jobs to devote herself full-time to the completion of her novel-in-progress, titled “This Far, By Grace.” Her nominator for the Demarest Fund grant described Ms. Cage Conley as “a dynamic, brilliant young writer who would accomplish much in arts and letters.”

A native of Louisiana, she received her BA in English at Dillard University in New Orleans and her doctoral degree in English at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Her dissertation investigates international discourses shaping the female circumcision debate. Ms. Cage Conley has taught English and writing at the University of Pittsburgh, Bucknell University, Duquesne University, Chatham University, and the Community College of Allegheny County. She currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The Eben Demarest Fund supports the work of independent creative artists and archeologists from across the United States. Each year, the Fund awards one grant ($12,435 in 2013) to an artist or archeologist to support creative and intellectual independence. 

The Trust was established by Miss Elizabeth B. Demarest in 1939 in the name of her father as an expression of their shared interest in the arts and world cultures.  For many years, Miss Demarest taught a course on the History of Civilization at the institution that has become Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

She envisioned the Trust as a means of providing financial freedom for individuals to devote themselves to work in the arts and archeology.  Since its establishment, The Eben Demarest Fund has supported individuals from diverse artistic disciplines and the field of archaeology. Past grantees include painter Jackson Pollock (1948), poet Robert Duncan (1975), sculptor Carol Rubenstein (1979), painter Brendan O’Connell (2003), painter Rebecca Campbell (2011), and dancer/choreographer Kyle Abraham (2012). 

Recipients must have produced significant work in their chosen fields. The Fund does not consider unsolicited proposals; each year committee members invite nominations from a rotating pool of nominators from colleges, universities and nonprofit arts and cultural organizations from around the country.