In 2020, Charles Moore’s (Ed.D. ’25) aspirations were as follows: become an art curator, conquer all six of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, and write a book about art collecting. Today, these once-listed dreams are his accomplished reality. Moore has exceeded his bucket list by publishing over four books (with a fifth in progress), completing all six Abbott World Marathon Majors, and is on the verge of earning his doctoral degree in Art and Art Education from Teachers College.
“‘Marathoning’ is a metaphor for life itself,” explains Moore. “However, I’ve learned that what matters most is how you navigate the challenges and checkpoints along the way before the finish line.”
Passion Meets Perseverance
Moore was always fascinated by the arts. However, he credits his mother for fueling his interest. “My mom, an art curator, inspired me the most. Our childhood home was garnished with paintings and rare art pieces. I felt like I was living in my very own museum.”
Invigorated by the creativity he encountered in his earlier years, Moore would later pursue his master’s in Museum Studies at Harvard University and, shortly after, his doctorate in the Art and Art Education program at Teachers College.
“I had a burning desire to work in art in some way, shape, or form, but I didn’t quite understand what that looked like. Teachers College paved the way for me to take those next steps through art curation and critical writing.”
His passion for cultural preservation in the arts inspired him to write several books, his first being The Black Market: A Guide to Art Collecting. “Although it’s written from the guise of myself, a Black writer, who’s writing about Black art collectors and artists, my hope is that anyone could read the book and learn something new from it or gain an appreciation for an artist they might not have known before.
Yet, simultaneously, the doctoral student was discovering another newfound hobby: running. “On a random winter day in 2015, I stumbled upon the marathon finish in NYC near Central Park South,” he shares. “I was overcome by the energy of the runners, and I decided to run the NYC marathon the following year.”
And he did just that. In 2016, Moore completed the New York City Marathon. “I caught the running bug after that, and it’s stuck with me since.” After years of rigorous training, the ultramarathoner adds that he recently conquered the Tokyo Marathon, the final race in all six of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, an accomplishment held by only a fraction of global marathon finishers.
Moore (left) alongside friend and runner Andrew Junior Hall (right) shortly after completing the sixth and final race of the Abbott World Marathon Majors in 2023. (Photo courtesy of Moore.)
Moore’s unique story inspired him to tap into his writing skills and translate his love of running into a memoir titled Apropos of Running, the fourth of his self-published works. The memoir details his journey to becoming an ultramarathoner, exploring how race and culture shaped his viewpoint. “The decision to write the book stemmed from the encouragement I received from others about my story, but also so that readers could understand that there’s so much more to marathoning than what meets the eye. For most, it’s one of the most pivotal moments in one’s life. It requires a lot of mental stamina.”
Building Community Through Curation
In continuing his TC journey, Moore adds that he’s exploring his passion for art curating and writing through a social justice lens. His debut exhibit, “Operation Varsity Blues,” addressed the college admissions scandal and included perspectives from American Black artists and community members.
Today, you can find him curating a new exhibit at Columbia University’s Heyman Center for Humanities, which features incarcerated artist Kenneth Reams and his wife, Isabelle. “It amplifies the disparities in the criminal justice system. These exhibitions serve as a platform to engage the community and hopefully foster empathy and understanding for the challenges we face.”
Paired with his unique passion for storytelling, Moore hopes to keep the momentum going through his lived experiences, too. “I’m already thinking about what my next book will look like,” he says. “I remain inspired by the great artists within the Columbia community, like recent grad Kevin Cobb and current MFA candidate Laurena Finéus. Art has a unique ability to provoke thought and challenge viewers’ preconceptions and biases, prompting conversations that might not occur otherwise. This work happens daily at Teachers College and the greater Columbia community, and I feel lucky to be a part of it.”
As for his running career, Moore assures us that we can spot him “crossing the finish line” somewhere in the world.
“Apropos of Running is apropos of many things, including marathons, race, friendship, family, and the drive to push oneself to the limits. Charles Moore has written a lively and insightful memoir that might inspire more of us to lace up and get moving.”
Sam Lipsyte – Author of No One Left to Come Looking for You and The Ask, Professor at Columbia University
— Jacqueline Teschon
Published Wednesday, Jan 17, 2024