Special Interest Groups

Special Interest Groups (SIGs) offer a way to pursue interests with other like-minded OLLI members. Special Interest Groups meet on a regular schedule, weekly to monthly, according to the needs of the group. 

To propose a new Special Interest Group

Review the guidelines and the SIG proposal process, then complete a Special Interest Group  proposal form and return the completed proposal form to the Reuter Center office.  Current SIG coordinators may download a SIG Membership form and download a SIG Attendance form.

Current Special Interest Groups (SIGs) 

To join a Special Interest Group, please contact the person listed as the SIG contact.

  • Alliance of French-Speakers--one Friday each month, 1:30-3 p.m. SIG contact: Gary Jay, 828.654.9357, garymichaeljay@gmail.com or David Nelson, 828.505.1874, dmn261034@mac.com  This SIG is for those francophones who speak French fluently and possess a solid French vocabulary. The group meets for discussions in French on specific, programmed subjects. The group does not teach or improve beginners. A basic knowledge of French grammar is essential, as is a keen interest in French culture and civilization.
  • Apple SIG—second Fridays, 1:30-3:30 p.m. SIG contact: Paula Withrow, 828.350.8406, pvwithrow@aol.com or Bob Mellor, 828.253.5031, bob.mellor@charter.net  Provides a community for continued learning, problem solving and information sharing pertaining to Mac, its applications and hardware, useful websites, and associated mobile devices. All experience levels are welcome.
  • Art - Fridays, 1-4pm. SIG contact: Diane Chambers, 828.271.4645, pdchambers@charter.net or Michelle Breen, 859.491.7302 michellemichelle831@gmail.com  A group of artists of all disciplines who meet once a week in the Reuter Center art studio-Room 230- to produce their art. The purpose is to inspire each other, help with new ideas and to keep us from being isolated while doing our artwork.
  • Beer on Tap-second Wednesdays, 4:30pm. SIG contact: Debra Benjamin, 828.708.3402, debrabenjamin100@gmail.com   We live in a Beer City, so let's explore all the new beer tastings and new locations and events in and around Asheville! Singles encouraged to attend. This is a participatory SIG with each member hosting and choosing a venue for monthly meetings.
  • Bridge Buddies—Tuesdays, 2-5 p.m. SIG contact: Debra Benjamin, 828.708.3402, debrabenjamin100@gmail.com   Laid-back bridge players at intermediate to advanced levels. No partner is required; the group plays with tallies and move around the tables as the tally indicates.
  • Bridge for Fun--1st and 3rd Wednesdays, 2-5 p.m.  SIG contact:  Patricia Grace 828.505.0046, pegrace@vt.edu  This SIG is for those of us who prefer to emphasize the social and fun aspects of the game while still improving our bridge skills.  The atmosphere of the group is meant to be relaxed with a comfortable level of competition. Participants should be able to play at the experienced beginner or intermediate level.  Members will be asked to share in the management of the group (organizing materials, setting-up, and dismantling at the end of play.)
  • Bridge Grads—Thursdays, 2-5 p.m. SIG contact: Nina Hansen, 828.299.7711, hansenn@charter.net or Kay Harrold, 828.257.4027, karonharrold@gmail.com This SIG provides weekly playing opportunities for graduates  of Bob Evans’ bridge classes at the College for Seniors (Beginning Bridge, Intermediate Bridge, and Play of the Hand). Participants should be able to play at the intermediate level, expect to play in a relaxed atmosphere and to share in the management of the group (organizing materials, setting-up, and dismantling at the end of the group session).
  • Conversing in Spanish--first and third Wednesdays, 4 p.m., SIG contact:  This SIG will provide a place that students can gather to engage in Spanish conversation in order to sharpen their skills. SIG contact: Harv Wechsler, wechsler7@hotmail.com and Nicole Kelly, nicole.gadon@gmail.com
  • Financial Strategies in Retirement—first Fridays, 1:30 p.m.  SIG contact:  Kate Beatty, 828.231.7710, kkbmom@yahoo.com  This group is geared towards people who already have a basic knowledge of investment strategies and wish to share ideas arising from its members and guests. We will not be investing in any funds as a group, but hope to inform members of opportunities that may interest them. We will also discuss major challenges to financial security in retirement and possible solutions.
  • The Forum: Dialogue to Challenge Our Thinking. Fridays, 1 p.m.  SIG contact: Eugene Jaroslaw, 828.255.9925, ejwestwood@gmail.com A free-flowing dialogue designed to enrich and expand participants’ thinking on topics ranging from Changing Demographics of Retirees to Nuclear Disarmament.
  • The Français facile SIG - meeting at the Atlanta Bread Company on Merrimon from 2-3:30pm, the 2nd & 4th Thursdays of the month.  SIG contact:  Renee Raffini, 828.684.6371, raffinir@gmail.com  This group is for those at the beginning and intermediate levels of French who would like to practice their conversation skills.  We divide into small groups to chat about various topics. No instruction is given, but some help/ grammar correction may be provided.
  • Intermediate Bridge—Fridays, 1:15-4 p.m.  SIG contact: Ruth Hall, 541.490.6460, ruth2458@gmail.com  Bridge for fun and camaraderie in a non-competitive setting at the intermediate level.
  • Meditation - 2nd and 4th Mondays, 4:15 p.m.  SIG contact:  Sally Ekaireb beriake@yahoo.com  A guided meditation group for members with prior experience with meditation, it is not a beginner group. Please bring your yoga blanket.
  • Men’s Wisdom Works—Call or email for meeting times. SIG contact: Bob Tomasulo, robmtom@aol.com  Men hold frank, open, and confidential discussions about issues that impact men during life’s transitions in order to bond and build a social network. Topics include retirement, aging, career change, moving, and many more.
  • Poetry Lovers—fourth Fridays, 1:30-3:30 p.m.  SIG contact: Karen Depew, depewkaren@yahoo.com   An informal group of poetry lovers committed to helping one another in developing poetry writing skills. Members are encouraged to present their own poems, or include works by others, to facilitate constructive, supportive critiquing.   Meetings are also open to more general topics of poetry, including discussion of new books, publishing opportunities,  trends and other subjects.  All are welcome to join, whether novice or pro.  The main criterion is love of poetry.
  • Stories for the Third Act—third Tuesday, 4:30-6 p.m.  SIG contact: Sarah Larson 828.450-5462, sarahlarso@gmail.com  What's your story? Are you a teller? A listener? Afficianado? A teller waiting to be born? Stories for the Third Act is a garden where stories can grow. Come be a part of an art form as old as time itself.
  • Texas Hold'Em Poker—Mondays, 4:15-6 p.m. SIG contact: Bruce Jones, 828.338.0265, bruce_e_jones@yahoo.com  Texas Hold'Em is an exciting fast paced game that is simple to learn and difficult to master.  The group welcomes all levels of players from expert to absolute beginner.  Beginners will be able to work with an experienced player who is well-versed in training new players.
  • Tile Clickers (Mah Jongg)—Wednesdays, 2-5 p.m.  SIG contact: Rosemary Walton, 828.667.8979, rh68@bellsouth.net  Mah Jongg is a game that involves skill, strategy, and calculation, as well as a certain degree of luck. Members play at the Reuter Center with a large set of attractive tiles based on Chinese characters and symbols using the book of Wright-Patterson rules and hands.
  • Wednesday Wine Tasting--2nd Wednesday of every month, 7pm at a members home. Contact Hooker Wood - hooker.wood@gmail.com or 713-515-9661 for details.
  • Whole Foods/Plant-based Living - varied Wednesdays, midday.  In this group we provide information and support for anyone interested in following a more plant based diet along the lines of Drs. Dean Ornish, Caldwell Esselstyn, Joel Fuhrman, Neal Barnard, John McDougall, Michael Greger, etc. and T. Colin Campbell, PhD.   We meet monthly for lunch at various local venues.  Contact Bonnie Wheeler, 330-321-1360, bonniewhee@gmail.com
  • Wine Tasting—second Sundays, 6 p.m. at a member’s home. SIG contact: Ulana Mellor, 828.253.5031, Ulana.Mellor@charter.net  Small groups meet monthly in members’ homes to sample and critique several wines, enjoy hors d’oeuvres, and finish with coffee and dessert. Cost: $20 per person per wine tasting event.
  • Wine Tasting II—the third Sunday, 7 p.m.   SIG contact:  Kathleen Mainardi, 828.633.2119, kkmainardi@gmail.com   Enjoy learning about wines during tastings, discussing food parings, vineyards, local wines, and more in a casual setting.
  • Women's Group—Women participate in non-judgmental sharing, for pleasure, friendship, and mutual enrichment. Topics may include such subjects as: grace; humor; guilt; joy; exploring beliefs about aging; how to say “no”; health; death of loved ones; retirement; working retirement; parenting “old” children; parenting our aging parents; sex in the second fifty years, in-lawing, grand parenting, etc. If interested, contact the group you think you'd like to join: Group #1 contact: Linda Orowitz, ashevilledeals@gmail.com, meets at Atlanta Bread on Merrimon  on 1st and 3rd Mondays, 1 p.m.; Group #6 contact: Susan Canale, susan3742@yahoo.com, meets 1st & 3rd Tuesdays, 4:15 p.m.; Group #8 contact: Kate Beatty, kkbmom@yahoo.com, and Julene Cupp, jucupp@charter.net, meets 2nd & 4th Tuesdays, 4:15 p.m.; Group #10 contact: Karen Ziff, kayzey@gmail.com, meets 1st & 3rd Mondays, 4:15 p.m.; Group #11 contact: Linda Lewis, lchem2@verizon.net, meets 1st & 3rd Thursday, 4:15 p.m.; Group #12 contact Maria Thomas, mariati00@hotmail.com, 1st & 3rd Wednesday, 4:30 p.m.
  • A Writers' Gathering—second and fourth Thursdays, 4:15 p.m.  SIG contact: John Himmelheber, jxhimmelheber@gmail.com  This group will offer in-depth discussion and feedback among participants about their creative writing, including short fiction, poetry, drama, memoir, and creative non-fiction.