Napa Valley Museum Presents: In Conversation Peter Coyote & Dick Grace

Napa Valley Museum Presents: In Conversation Peter Coyote & Dick GraceOn Friday, September 21 at 6 pm, the Napa Valley Museum Yountville will continue its popular "In Conversation" series of speaking events with "Compassionate Action," a discussion of how to turn our individual compassion into positive action for the benefit of others, our world and ourselves. Actor and activist Peter Coyote will join his friend: vintner and humanitarian Dick Grace, for a frank and lively exchange of ideas about channeling frustration into renewed energy, turning anger into empathy, and how to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the scope of the challenges facing us by making small steps individually, or as part of a larger movement, to build the foundation for lasting change.

Coyote and Grace are longtime collaborators in compassion who have travelled and participated in philanthropic projects together in China, Mongolia, Tibet and Nepal. Coyote, an ordained Zen Priest, comes at compassion from a more structured approach based on extensive study and rigorous practice. Grace, by contrast, although also a Buddhist, relies more on instinct and emotion. Says Coyote: "I think Dick's practice is a total immersion in compassion." The two share a profound commitment to kindness, to being present, and to carrying their spiritual commitments forward into concrete positive action. Says Grace: "a lot of Buddhists spend their time sitting on cushions staring at flames, but what you do with your life is much more important. Too many of us keep our spirituality as an abstract thing rather than living it." Through this "Compassionate Action" event, these two extraordinary men will share their experiences and insights on lives lived with a commitment to compassion, and answer questions from those seeking to do the same.

Peter Coyote is an American actor, author, director, screenwriter and narrator of films, theatre, television and audiobooks. He has appeared in more than 160 films and television shows. Notable film performances include "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial," "Jagged Edge" and "Erin Brockovich." He is one of the world's most acclaimed narrators, lending his voice to more than 100 projects including documentaries by PBS, National Geographic, as well as Ken Burns' "The West, "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History" (for which he won his second Emmy Award) and "The Vietnam War." He has served as the voice of the Academy Awards, the Olympic opening ceremonies, and many commercials and audiobooks, as well as for the Emmy-winning documentary series "Bay Area Revelations."

Coyote's legendary social conscience spans decades, encompassing social justice, environmental issues, and championing human and civil rights, including the rights of Native Americans and of the incarcerated. During the mid-1960s, he was an actor, writer and director with the San Francisco Mime Troupe, and was one of the founders of the Diggers, an anarchist improv group active in Haight-Ashbury, and known for provocative theatre pieces and for distributing free food, goods and medical services to thousands of neighborhood residents. Coyote worked for the San Francisco Arts Commission and was appointed by Governor Brown to lead the California Arts Council. He is a Pushcart Prize-winning author of magazine articles and books, including two bestselling memoirs. A longtime practitioner of Zen Buddhism, Coyote was ordained as a Zen Priest in 2015 and received transmission, freeing him from his teacher in 2016. He lives in Sebastopol.

Dick Grace is a former Marine and Smith Barney executive who moved to the Napa Valley in 1976 with wife Ann, and began producing wine. He is credited with creating California's first cult Cabernet, the proceeds from which helped rebuild Tibetan schools and Nepali medical clinics. Each bottle of Grace Family Wine bears the statement: "Wine as a catalyst towards healing our planet." The Grace Family Foundation, with Grace's stated goal: "to take the opportunity, if not the obligation, to be compassionate caregivers of our underserved sisters and brothers locally as well as worldwide," has distributed millions of dollars to humanitarian projects throughout the United States, Mexico and Asia. Celebrating the compassion of others, he joined with the Dalai Lama and the organization Wisdom in Action in 1999 to create the "Unsung Heroes of Compassion" awards, first presented in 2001.

Peter Coyote described his friend in a memoir about their trip to China, Tibet and Nepal in 2010, writing: "Dick Grace is a force of nature who, along with his wife Ann, has been building schools, hospitals and orphanages through their Foundation in Tibet, Nepal, India and Mexico for years." ... "They have put numerous Tibetan and Nepalese children, some grievously burned or requiring prosthetic limbs (which they have paid for), through American universities." ... "Dick is an unstoppable expression of human kindness in much the same way that a Sherman tank is an expression of aggression." Dick and Ann Grace live in St. Helena where Grace Family Vineyards, and its related Grace Family Foundation, are based. He is the author of the book: "The Opened Heart," and the subject of an upcoming documentary.

The event includes a tasting by Handwritten Wines of Yountville. Handwritten's winemaking philosophy shows a commitment to the unique terroir of the Napa Valley by crafting hillside and mountain District Cabernet Sauvignons sourced from two-acre blocks. The family owners give back to the community by supporting literacy programs and hosting cultural events focused on storytelling. For more information or to arrange a tasting, visit their website at

Admission to "In Conversation: Compassionate Action" is $20 for Museum Members and $35 for Non-Members. Capacity is strictly limited. Tickets, which include main gallery admission to "California Dreamin,'" are available via the Museum's website ( and at the direct ticket link: Proceeds from the evening benefit the Museum's arts and education programs.

On exhibition in the Main Gallery from August 30 through October 28: California Dreamin'. Melissa Chandon and Matt Rogers' joint exhibition at the Napa Valley Museum Yountville embodies the idyllic "California Dream" of freedom and vitality. Paintings of palm trees, lifeguard stations, and woody-style station wagons carrying surfboards set against expansive blue skies capture the indelible collective memory of the relaxed, carefree beach lifestyle that took hold of imaginations around the world in the 1960s.

In the Spotlight Gallery August 30 through October 28, 2018: Surfboard Artist Tim Bessell. La Jolla-based contemporary California artist Tim Bessell's Artist Series surfboards pay homage to famous artists who have inspired him, including iconic pop artist Andy Warhol. Released in very limited editions, these handmade works, created in collaboration with the Warhol Foundation, take Warhol's graphics and combine them with Bessell's most popular surfboard shapes. Surfboards for sale during the exhibit will benefit the Museum's arts and education programs. On permanent exhibition in the History Gallery: "Land & People of Napa Valley."

The Napa Valley Museum Yountville is located at 55 Presidents Circle in Yountville, and is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 to 4 pm. The Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to providing unique experiences that enrich the cultural fabric of our community through exhibitions and educational outreach. For more information, call 707.944.0500, email, or visit our website at

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