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Osher Lifelong Learning Institute  

Special Programs

Most events are free and open to the public • Call 828.251.6140 for additional details.

Advance Care PlanningMembers at lecture

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville will hold an advance care planning workshop Thursday, June 19, 2014, 7-9 p.m. at the Reuter Center.

The workshop will feature a panel whose members are experienced in addressing end-of-life issues. Discussion will include communicating your treatment wishes to loved ones and to medical personnel, ethical and legal issues, and the uses of advance directives.  Ample time will be reserved for questions. Assistance will be provided for anyone wishing to complete a legally valid advance directive, including the notarization required in North Carolina, using the Five Wishes format.

Click here to view a sample of the Five Wishes brochure.  Preparation for you to do before the workshop:  Talk to your possible "power of attorney for healthcare", the person who would make health care decisions if you are unable.  Click here for a video of a sample conversation, starring OLLI member Mary Campbell and Aruna Josyula, one of our panelists.  If you have internet-access, print the sample Five Wishes brochure and study it and write down any questions you might have for the panel.  This workshop is free and open to the public.  For more information, call OLLI at 828-251-6140 or email olli@unca.eduClick here to view an event flier.   

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Asheville Community Theatre’s Readers Theater

The Autumn Players is a troupe of seasoned actors dedicated to taking the theatre experience into the community. Readings of great literature by experienced performers can spark deep understanding and kindle lasting interest. As words jump from the page with conviction and emotion, stories come to life. Tickets are $5 at the door.

  • Sunday, March 30, 2:30 pm: Come Back, Little Sheba by William Inge, directed by RoseLynn Katz. 
  • Sunday, April 27, 2:30 pm: Last of the Aztecs by Joe Feinstein, directed by Wayne Wheeler.

For more information on the Autumn Players, click here. 

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Asheville Living Treasures

Asheville Living Treasures (ALT) is an organization whose mission is to honor the elders of Asheville and Buncombe County, who have devoted their lives to making our communities a better place to live, by publicly honoring them and their achievements and recording their stories for future generations. Any senior, age 70 and above, and resides in Asheville/Buncombe County is eligible for nomination.  There are two sessions per year- Spring (cancelled for 2014) and Fall. The next recognition ceremony honoring the Treasures will be held at the Reuter Center on October 19, 2014, 1-4 p.m. and the public is invited to attend.  The oral histories of each Treasure are archived at the UNC Asheville Ramsey Library, Special Collections department.  For more information visit or contact ALT Chair, Marnie Walsh: 828-298-2231,, or Committee Member, Carmen Ramos-Kennedy: 828-423-6476.

Astronomy Club of Asheville

The Astronomy Club of Asheville meets the 1st Thursday of each month, 7-9 pm, with an interesting line-up of speakers and topics. OLLI members are welcomed to attend the club’s meetings and star gazes with club members on hand to advise and assist them in the basics of astronomy and the techniques of observing celestial phenomena. Participation at club meetings and events is free to OLLI members. For more information:

  • Thursday, April 3, 7 pm: Judith Beck, lecturer in physics at UNC Asheville, “Observatories in Chile”
  • Thursday, May 1, 7 pm: To be announced

Club membership is free.  For more information on Astronomy Club of Asheville, click here.

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Blue Ridge Orchestra

The Blue Ridge Orchestra (BRO) is comprised of over 70 volunteer musicians, nearly half of whom trained for a profession in music. Their passion for performing symphonic music of a  high caliber at a high level brings them together at the Reuter Center’s Manheimer Room most  Wednesday evenings at 7  pm. OLLI members are encouraged to drop by rehearsals --especially the last in a sequence. Open rehearsals for May  concerts will be held Wednesdays,  April 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30. BRO  will hold concerts Friday May 2, 7:30 pm, and Saturday,  May 3, 7:30 pm at White Horse, Black Mountain.  For more information on Blue Ridge Orchestra. 

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Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society

The mission of the Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society (EMAS) is to promote an awareness and appreciation of nature, to preserve and protect wildlife and natural ecosystems, and to encourage responsible environmental stewardship. EMAS general meetings at the Reuter Center are free and open to the public. 

  • Tuesday, April 15, 7 pm: Chris Gentile, director of  the Western NC Nature Center
  • Tuesday, May 20, 7 pm: Curtis Smalling, Director of Land Bird Conservation for Audubon NC “The Golden- Winged Warbler Project”

  For more information Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society, click here.

Fab Fridays Lunch & Learn Lectures

Members and guests are invited to enjoy stimulating presentations and dynamic question-and-answer sessions from local experts, about everything from music to travel and medications to wellness.  Purchase lunch in the Reuter Cafe or bring your own brown bag to enjoy during the talk.  End your week and start your weekend with Fab Fridays!  This series is organized by the Health Education Series Committee and the Lunch and Learn Committee.  Fridays, 11:30 a.m. - 1:15 p.m., Reuter Center Manheimer Room.  Free and open to the public.

March 28, 2014  Travel to Pakistan with Mickey Buckwalter
In her slide presentation Mickey will take us along on her adventure to the remote areas of Pakistan and introduce us to the people she encountered along the way.  She traveled solo taking local transport for nine weeks in Pakistan during May and June of 2012, beginning a one-year trip through Asia and Africa. She entered Pakistan at Lahore and went north from there into the Karakoram and Hindu Kush regions.  We will learn about the people, their living conditions at high elevations, and her personal experiences with them.  

April 4, 2014  Patient Safety & Advocacy: How You Can Help Reduce Medical Errors by Lori Postal
Lori Postal, RN, MHA, who has recently retired from Duke Medical Center as the director of nursing and patient safety officer in ambulatory care, is now a teaching member of OLLI. She will tell us how to be a proactive and engaged patient, and become an advocate for ourselves or loved ones. At some point in our lives we may become hospitalized, and doctors and nurses, who dedicate their lives to caring for people, will orchestrate our care. Healthcare can be complicated, and so it is important that everyone be familiar with practices that can keep us safe, and reduce medical errors. Lori is currently the executive director of the Southern Pain Society, and a member of the Mission Hospital Ethics Committee. This lecture is part of the Health Education Series.                                                                                                      

April 18, 2014  Artisan Coffee: Globally Sourced, Locally Roasted by Andy Gibbon
For many of us, coffee is an essential part of everyday life. But our morning cup of joe's journey begins many months and thousands of miles away from our kitchen counter top. During this discussion, we will trace coffee's path through the global supply chain, from seed to cup, and discover the many aspects that influence the beverage, including what you can do to make great coffee at home. Dynamite Roasting Company is an artisan roaster of Certified Organic and Fair Trade coffees. Founded in 2008, the Black Mountain based coffee company distributes freshly roasted coffee to cafes, restaurants, and grocery stores throughout Western North Carolina. Dynamite co-owner and roastmaster Andy Gibbon has worked in many facets of the coffee industry, and will share his experiences from working in the business, including recent sourcing trips in coffee growing countries. 

April 25, 2014 Older and Wiser: Benefits of the Mature Brain and How to Preserve its Health by Dr. Mary Ammerman
Everyone jokes about aging not being for the faint of heart, but it’s not all bad news! Brain imaging studies have confirmed that there are real benefits to growing older and wiser. Dr. Mary Ammerman, from The Institute for Applied Neuroscience, will review the latest research on aging and the brain. Her talk will also include strategies for preserving brain health from middle age and beyond. Find out how to protect your best asset – your brain!  This lecture is part of the Health Education Series.

May 2, 2014   Arts & Crafts Bungalows: Asheville’s Precious Treasures by Frank Brown
 “Airplane” Bungalow, what is that? Come enjoy a unique and beautiful presentation covering many aspects of the Arts & Crafts Movement which flourished in Asheville from 1895 through the 1930’s.  Frank Brown, Jr., aka “Bungalow Brown,” is an enthusiastic speaker, an artist, an accomplished designer and builder of authentic Craftsman bungalows, and his slide presentation promises to be fun and informative. Learn to identify the classic home styles in your neighborhood: French Eclectic, Italian Renaissance, Tudor, the “Airplane” Bungalows and more. Frank will provide sources for historically accurate color pallets, heirloom landscaping, wood window repair craftsmen, furnishings, hand-made lighting, and new push-button light switches. Frank will bring samples of both original and reproduction lighting, Arts & Crafts wallpaper, books and original magazines from the 1920’s. Join “Bungalow Brown” and explore the continuing revival of interest in these unique treasures we call home in Asheville. Bring your questions! 

May 9, 2014  Living Well: Getting Vested in Growing Older Right (VIGOR) by Teresa Fralix, MD, PhD
Life expectancy has changed dramatically in the last 100 years. However, many of us are living longer with chronic medical illnesses that can be positively affected by our health choices and habits. Find out what you can do to live longer and healthier. Dr. Fralix, a Family Physician and UNC MAHEC faculty member, will present the latest evidence and research about health, wellness, diet, exercise, and the lifestyle habits that lead to better human flourishing.  This lecture is part of the Health Education Series. 

May 16, 2014  And Now, Mark Twain! by Richard Cary
Be ready for a really Fabulous Friday when we welcome Richard Cary as Mark Twain.  Richard was the founder and artistic director of Actors Theatre of Nantucket before moving to Asheville some twelve years ago.  He has spent his life in all aspects of theater and is especially tuned in to Mark Twain.   And Now, Mark Twain!  will be presented in a contemporary setting in contemporary attire. "This is a very exciting concept and opportunity for me," says Richard.  A very exciting opportunity for us too!

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f/32 Photography

f/32 is a diverse group that shares an appreciation and love of photography. Members range from amateurs who like to take point-and-shoot snapshots to working professional photographers. At monthly meetings, they share their work, learn new methods, and keep abreast of the latest industry news and equipment. OLLI members are offered free membership in f/32. Attend on Wednesdays,  April 9, and May 14; all meetings begin at 7 pm. For more information:   For more information on f/32 Photography Group, click here.

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Medicare Choices Made Easy!

Are you new to Medicare? Are you confused by the many choices? Unbiased and accurate information is available from trained volunteers from the North Carolina Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program. In partnership with OLLI, a free class will be held on Friday, April 25, 2014, 2-4pm and then a summer session on July 25, 2014, 2-4 pm in the Reuter Center. Both sessions will be an overview (plans, parts and policies) of Medicare. Spaces are limited, so reserve your space by calling the Buncombe County Council on Aging, 277-8288.

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Opera Talk

Asheville Lyric Opera brings to life the greatest stories and music to Asheville's premiere theatrical stage, the Diana Wortham Theatre. Come enjoy a behind the scenes journey as ALO General Director, David Craig Starkey, and a cast of industry professionals guide you through their operatic world.  On March 21, 2014, 3pm,  ALO provides a Special Class featuring a lecture with guest artists from their spring opera, Mozart's Don Giovanni.

Radiation Lecture

On May 15, 2014, 7pm, Dr. Perry Sprawls will offer an interesting talk on radiation in our lives today.  There are different types of radiation, and with the exception of light, it is invisible.  That often gives it a mystic characteristic and a cause for concern because of our natural “fear of the darkness” and things we cannot see. When we become more familiar with the radiation in our lives today, knowing its characteristics, where it comes from, how it is used in modern society, and its effects on the human body, we can make intelligent decisions and live in harmony with this part of our environment. In this program we review the different types and sources of radiation, their benefits to individuals and society, and the actions to minimize risks.  Perry Sprawls is Distinguished Emeritus Professor, Emory University, Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences, with over 50 years of experience in the use of radiation for medical purposes.   This talk is offered in collaboration with the WNC IEEE.

Reuter Center Singers Special Events

The Reuter Center Singers, OLLI’s in-house choral group directed by Chuck Taft, study  and perform classical, popular, show tunes and other favorites and perform regionally. Mark your calendar and plan to attend their popular Spring Concert on Saturday, May 3, 7 pm, or Sunday, May 4, 3 pm for a program titled “Frank  Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis!” These  performances are free and open to the public.

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Symphony Talk with Daniel Meyer

The best way to enjoy the Asheville Symphony Orchestra’s Masterworks concerts is to come to the Symphony Talk for
the inside scoop on the music, composers, and soloists. Come early to get a seat; this popular series is very well attended. Free and open to the public. Asheville Symphony Orchestra’s music director and conductor Daniel Meyer will speak about the performance for the next evening’s concert and local music aficionado Chip Kaufmann will speak about the composers. Symphony Talks during OLLI’s Spring term are:    Friday, May 9, 3 pm: Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with piano soloist Mariangela Vacatello and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 “The Year 1905”.  For more information about the Asheville Symphony Orchestra, or to find out how to purchase tickets for performances at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, visit

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World Affairs Council

Come to the Reuter Center for these fascinating lectures and panel discussions that aim to advance international awareness and foster Western North Carolina's global ties. OLLI members receive a discount on WAC annual membership fee.  WAC will offer their popular Great Decisions Series in February and March with topics that range from political Islam in Africa to China's foreign policy, from energy independence to economic statecraft and trade, and the defense and the rise of new technologies to food security and climate change.  Meetings are scheduled for Tuesdays, 7:30 p.m.  Topics and speakers include:

  • April 1, 2014,  “Cuba” by  journalist Jon Elliston
  • May 6, 2014, "Individual Liberties", by UNC Asheville faculty Mark Gibney

   For more details about programs, consult the WAC website.

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Last edited by on April 14, 2014