Videos celebrate Marin Art & Garden Center’s history and beauty

Photo by Ned Purdom

Charlie Purdom creates videos about the Marin Art & Garden Center with his father, Ned.

By PJ BREMIER | | IJ correspondent

May 1, 2020 at 12:00 p.m.

The Marin Art & Garden Center in Ross was looking forward to another happy spring when flowers bloomed, Pixie Park was filled with laughing children, guests gathered for garden lectures and art exhibits, engaged couples — in search of a wedding site — toured the grounds, and the big lawn and the playhouse attracted locals to live concerts and theater.

Those visions changed the minute the COVID-19 stay-at-home order went into effect, of course, but another type of vision presented itself when Ned Purdom and his son Charlie, both San Anselmo natives, stepped forward with a plan.

They volunteered to produce a series of videos documenting the center’s history, activities and various spaces.

“(Charlie) is directing and shooting the videos,” Purdom says. “I am his sound engineer and production assistant. I also buy him iced teas.”

The first video the two completed was a virtual tour of the art exhibition, “Rooted in Wonder,” featuring the artwork of Frances McCormack and Miya Hannan. The exhibit had only just been installed at MAGC when the stay-at-home orders occurred.

That video was soon followed by a short rose care tutorial set in the center’s rose garden, featuring garden manager Steven Schwager.

Both videos are posted on the MAGC website ( and will soon be joined by additional ones, including a virtual wedding tour for engaged couples, a tutorial on growing summer vegetables and an educational look at invasive ornamental plants.

Also in the pipeline are videos for MAGC’s branding and fundraising, a drone tour of the center’s grounds with video shot by Christian Broms, son of MAGC board member Jessica Fairchild, and videos on the historical aspects of the center as it marks its 75th anniversary.

The Purdoms have been careful to comply with the COVID-19 safety requirements.

“All the shots are from more than 6 feet, or rely on the zoom lens to get closer and, for the audio, we are using a boom microphone that is about 8 feet long,” Purdom says.

Photo by Ned Purdom

San Anselmo father-and-son Ned and Charlie Purdom produce a rose care tutorial at the Marin Art & Garden Center.

Purdom, who had careers in both public relations and education before he retired in 2017, had only spent a short time on the MAGC’s board of directors before his son, who was living in Brooklyn, headed home to Marin for the duration of the stay-at-home orders.

A former member of Sir Francis Drake High School’s visual media academy and a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City, Charlie Purdom was pursuing his career at his alma mater’s theater and directing, shooting and editing videos for his own clients.

“For me, working with my son has been wonderful,” Purdom says. “He really knows what he is doing. Charlie says it’s not too bad working with his father. The content is interesting and unusual and the work environment is much, much different that anything else he does in New York.”

The two will continue working on the videos, at least until June, and then train the MAGC staff to create video content.

According to MAGC executive director Antonia Adezio, plans are already underway to document future art exhibitions and regular gardening tips from Schwager.

“Ned and Charlie are a godsend to Marin Art & Garden Center,” Adezio says. “The new skills and approaches we are learning will enable us to continue the arc of expanded and deepened communications into the future. I definitely see video as part of our ongoing communication toolkit. It is such a powerful way to make a place come alive and there are so many engaging people involved in our programming, the opportunities are endless.”

And making videos post-COVID-19 will have a distinct advantage.

“It will be a bit easier to make these materials when you can get closer to people because you can shoot things more easily and the audio is easier to get,” Purdom says.

Marin Art & Garden Center is at 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. in Ross. During the stay-at-home order, the parking lot is closed, but the grounds are open to pedestrians and bicyclists from dawn to dusk with physical distancing practices in place.

PJ Bremier writes on home, garden, design and entertaining topics every Saturday and also on her blog at She may be contacted at P.O. Box 412, Kentfield 94914, or at

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IRS Guidelines for Gifts from Donor Advised Funds to Support MAGC Events

Thank you for your interest in giving to the Marin Art & Garden Center events from your Donor Advised Fund (DAF) or Family Foundation.

We sincerely appreciate your generosity and support!

To ensure your gift follows the current IRS guidelines for DAF/Family Foundation support of an event, we would like to share the below guidelines with you.

  • Raffle tickets, tickets to galas and other special events, auction items, and benefits conferred in connection with a DAF/foundation grant are not permitted.
    • IRS has specifically ruled that fair market value associated with fundraising events cannot be separated, a practice known as “bifurcation.”
      • For example, with Edible Garden, if the price of the ticket is $200 and the FMV fair market value (non-tax-deductible amount) is designated to be $50, the donor must pay from sources other than her DAF/foundation for the full value of the ticket ($200) and not just for the non-tax-deductible amount ($50).
    • We recommend you confer with your financial advisor to confirm if any of these examples of how donors may still use their DAF to support an event would work for you:
      • A donor could sponsor the event, and not attend, and pay fully out of the DAF/foundation.
      • A donor could sponsor the event using DAF/foundation funds and attend by purchasing an individual ticket through non-DAF/foundation funds.
      • A donor could sponsor the event, join the event as a guest of another donor/table guest, and pay fully out of the DAF/foundation.
      • A donor could sponsor the event and host the afforded number of people at their chosen level as long as they pay for the seats at the lowest ticket price ($200 for Edible Garden) outside of their DAF.
        • As an example, a $1,500 sponsor that covers 2 guests, could pay for their sponsorship with $400 from a different source of funds, and then give an additional gift of $1,100 out of their DAF.


Please email Tod Thorpe, Director of Development at to discuss your gift to Marin Art and Garden Center