Photo by Ned Purdom
Charlie Purdom creates videos about the Marin Art & Garden Center with his father, Ned.
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 (magc.org/magc-news) 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 DesignSwirl.co. She may be contacted at P.O. Box 412, Kentfield 94914, or at email@example.com.