Special Programs

In addition to classes and workshops, OLLI offers community programs, special events, lectures and more.

Most events are scheduled here at the Reuter Center and are free and open to everyone • Call 828.251.6140 for additional details.


AARP Documentary and Discussion

Before Medicare was introduced in 1965, fewer than 50% of the nation’s hospitals served black and white patients equally. In the South one in three hospitals would not admit African Americans even for emergencies. By using the carrot of Medicare dollars, the federal government virtually ended the practice of racially segregated health care. The powerful book and documentary The Power to Heal illustrates how civil rights leaders and grass-roots volunteers pressed and worked with the federal government to achieve justice and fairness for African Americans. The documentary will be followed by a community discussion with local leaders to explore these historical issues and reflect upon current day challenges. Come view the documentary The Power to Heal, and join a post-viewing discussion on Wednesday, May 22, 1-4 p.m. This program is sponsored by AARP in the Mountain Region. If you have questions, contact Rebecca Chaplin at 828.380.6242 or rchaplin@aarp.org  

Advance Care Planning

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville will hold an advance care planning (ACP) workshop on Thursday, June 20, 2019, 7-9 p.m.  The workshop will feature a panel whose members are experienced in addressing end-of-life issues. The 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 NC ACP "Short Form". 

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.  If you have internet access and a printer, click here to access a copy of the ACP Short form.  Please print the form, study it, and bring it to the workshop along with any questions you might have for the panel. 

If you have never been admitted to Mission Hospital, but want your advanced directives added to the Mission Medical Record, click here for an “Advance Directive Permission form” to fill out. Also, if you have existing advance directives, you may mail the “Permission Form” along with a copy of your existing Advance Directive to Mission for addition to the Mission medical record (or you can get help doing this at the next ACP workshop).

This workshop is free and open to everyone, adults of all ages.  For more information, call OLLI, 828.251.6140 or email  olli@unca.eduClick here to view an event flier.   

Back to top

Astronomy Club of Asheville

The Astronomy Club of Asheville meets the first Thursday of each month, from 7-9 pm, (except for January and July), with an interesting lineup of speakers and topics. OLLI members may attend the club meetings and stargazes, with club members on hand to advise and assist them in the basics of astronomy and the techniques of observing celestial phenomena. Meetings are scheduled for April 4, May 2, and June 6, 2019. For more information on the Astronomy Club of Asheville, visit their website at www.astroasheville.org


The Autumn Players

The Autumn Players (affiliated with Asheville Community Theatre) is a troupe of seasoned actors dedicated to taking the theatre experience into the community. Their words jump from the page with conviction and emotion, and these actors make their stories come to life. Scheduled at 2:30 p.m., in the Reuter Center Manheimer Room, tickets are $7 at the door; mark your calendar for April 28The Constant Wife by W. Somerset Maugham, directed by Anita Chapman; and June 9Ancestral Voices by A.R. Gurney, directed by RoseLynn Katz.

Behind the Scenes at NC Stage

Go behind the scenes of professional theatre with NC Stage Artistic Director and co-founder Charlie Flynn-McIver.  Explore the themes of this season’s plays, talk with the actors, directors and designers about design concepts and the rehearsal process, and experience a scene or two performed live.  Join us for an insider’s view of how theatre happens!  Free and open to the public, this series is scheduled in the Manheimer Room as follows: April 26, 1:30 p.m.  For more information on NC Stage, click here to visit their website.

Back to top

The Carolinas’ Nature Photographers Association

The Carolinas’ Nature Photographers Association (CNPA) was founded in 1992 to promote nature photography in the Carolinas, to help conserve and preserve the diverse natural ecosystems in the Carolinas and to educate others interested in nature and wildlife photography. The association is divided into regions for more close-at-hand activities. The CNPA-Asheville Region’s goal is to develop a group that will more fully experience the beauty of Western  North Carolina through photography. Activities in the Asheville Region include monthly meetings, photo outings, seminars, workshops, exhibits, photo contests, and image critiques. The monthly meetings are held at the Reuter Center on the second Sunday of each month from 5:30-8pm, April 14 (Special Speaker Program), and May 12, 2019.  For more information please visit: www.cnpa-asheville.org

Back to top

Death Cafe'

“Death Café” is an engaging gathering a storytelling experience holding as conversation. A conversation that too often alienates one in our death phobic culture. A new movement, a shift, is at play in recovering the ritual of being with death through personal storytelling of fears, loss, and death; a deepening ritual emerges and we build a culture of dying wisely. Join us at our next Death Cafe, the new holy ground or common ground and the wonders of being with dying, presented on Fridays,  April 19, and May 17, 2019, 5-6:30 p.m. facilitated by Thirdmessenger’s Karen Sanders, Greg Lathrop, and Sa’id Osio. You can learn more about Death Café by visiting: deathcafe.com/thirdmessenger.com and facebook.com/deathcafeasheville

Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society

The mission of the Elisha Mitchell chapter of the National Audubon Society is to protect birds and their habitats and to promote an awareness and appreciation of nature. EMAS schedules educational programs on the third Tuesdays of the month,  April 16, and May 21, 2019, 7 p.m., at the Reuter Center. Programs are free and open to the public.  Find out more at their website, www.emasnc.org, and plan to join them for the walks and talks. 

Back to top

Fab Fridays Lunch & Learn Lectures

On  Fridays, 11:30 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. during the term, this series of lunch and learn lectures continues to delight and inform. Held in the Manheimer Room, Fab Fridays are free and open to everyone. Purchase lunch in our Reuter Café or bring your own brown bag. End your week and start your weekend with Fab Fridays. Don’t miss these great programs.

  • April 12th - No Fab Friday Taking Place this Week.​ 
  • April 19: The Past, Present and Future of Asheville’s Riverfront Revitalization– Garrett Artz
    Learn about the transformation and revitalization of Asheville’s Riverfront along the French Broad River, a river once described as “too thick to drink and too thin to plow” by author Wilma Dykeman.  Discover some of the key events like the 1916 Flood and industrialization, and key leaders like Dykeman, the Dam Fighters, Jean Webb and Karen Cragnolin.  Learn about the success stories in local collaboration to improve water quality and the ongoing transformation of degraded properties into public parks and greenways.  RiverLink Executive Director Garrett Artz will cover this colorful history and provide a glimpse into the future of river revitalization.  Pictures from RiverLink’s historical collection will help tell the story and time will be provided for a robust discussion.
  • April 26: Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body-Tips from the Latest Research – Denise Young
    For centuries, we've known that the health of the brain and the body are connected. But now, science is able to provide insights into how to make lifestyle choices that may help you keep your brain and body healthy as you age. Join us to learn about research in the areas of diet and nutrition, exercise, cognitive activity and social engagement, and use hands-on tools to help you incorporate these recommendations into a plan for healthy aging. Denise Young is the program manager for the Western Carolina Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and manages programs and services throughout the 16 counties in the Western NC mountains, including recruiting and managing a workforce of volunteers to bring education and awareness throughout the region.
  • May 3: When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Whiskey--Troy Ball
    The first woman in America to found a whiskey distillery has a story to tell.  Troy Ball opened Troy & Sons Distillery in Western North Carolina in 2010, a venture started as a way to support her two medically fragile special needs sons.  She studied with experts to learn the trade and has created a thriving woman-owned whiskey business.  Along the way she also launched a memory supplement business that is also proving successful.  Troy found ways to deal with major roadblocks thrown in her path and learned many life lessons – some of them hard, all of them valuable.  Come hear Troy speak on the importance of listening to these lessons and being brave enough to believe in yourself. Her memoir will be available for sale.
  • May 10: The GUT Microbiome – We are ALL Connected! --Patrick Hanaway
    Patrick Hanaway, MD, is a local physician who has recently established the Center for Functional Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. He will discuss and explore the role of the gastrointestinal tract in health and disease. In particular, Dr. Hanaway will highlight the role of the gut microbiome in digestion, permeability, immune function, gut-brain connections, and the relationship of gut health to different diseases, including: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, auto-immune diseases, brain health, cancers and many more. The changes in the diversity of our gut microbiome “echo” changes in the ecology of our world. We will also discuss the role of food, stress, emotions, exercise, and connection to the natural world in promoting diversity of the gut microbiome.
  • May 17: Climate and Society – Lessons from Tourism--Marjorie McGuirk
    Marjorie McGuirk became a climatologist before climate was hot!  Her life long career in climatology began and ended with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) climate center in Asheville. There she learned the value of climate data for all sectors of society, such as energy, shipping, public health, water, buildings, and tourism. In the middle, her career took her to several climates, including Geneva, Switzerland. It was there in the 1990s that she realized climate change was real, was happening now, and was affecting important sectors of society.  With a focus on the impact of climate change on tourism, she will share her experiences in how climate change affects aspects of our daily lives. Yes, that’s right!  Drawing on her climate career and post-retirement touring, not to mention late lifelong learning Master of Liberal Arts diploma, she will show how climate change influences the places we love to visit, and alters the patterns of the tourism choices we make.   McGuirk is the Expert Consultant for the World Meteorological Organization’s Global Framework for Climate Services and a lead U.S. Government Reviewer for the Fifth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Back to top


Midday Music with Pan Harmonia

Now in its 20th season, Asheville’s Pan Harmonia enjoys taking its music out of the concert hall and into unlikely spaces all around our community. Learn about the music and meet the musicians in informal conversation. Feel free to bring friends and your lunch. To learn more, visit: www.panharmonia.org

 • Friday, November 1, 2019, 2 p.m.  • Midday Music, Open rehearsal and interactive audience discussion: In celebration of its upcoming 20th season, Pan Harmonia has commissioned composer Dosia McKay to write a 13-15 minute three-movement work for voice, flute, bassoon, and guitar. This piece, composed and performed by women artists, sets to music words by women writers from North Carolina on themes of timely significance, specifically focusing on inclusivity and exclusivity regarding cultural, economic, and gender issues. This innovative work for the chamber music repertoire and for the citizens of North Carolina has been funded by an NCAC Program Support grant and private donors.

Back to top

Living with Dementia: Life After a Diagnosis

Offered through the Alzheimer's Association Western Carolina Chapter, Living with Dementia is a series of three two-hour presentations designed for the person who has a recent diagnosis of dementia or is in the early stages of the disease, with the goal to provide answers to the questions about this complex disease.  For more information see the Alzheimer’s Association of Western North Carolina’s website at www.alz.org/northcarolina  Scheduled Fridays, February, 1, 8 and 15, 9:00 - 11:00 am in Reuter Center’s Room 207, the series is free and open to the public.

Back to top

Spring Member Social

Come enjoy good company and complimentary ice-cream from The Hop at the Spring Member Social on Thursday, April 25, 2019, 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.  Whether you're a new member or a familiar face, take this moment to enjoy being a part of the OLLI community, and perhaps take the time to meet someone you haven't met before. We look forward to seeing you there!

Back to top

New to Medicare Class

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, May 24, 2-4 p.m. in the Reuter Center. The class will provide important information to assist you in understanding how Medicare works and what you need to do to obtain benefits and save money.  Spaces are limited so reserve your space by registering online at www.coabc.org.   In addition, beginning at 12 p.m., representatives from the Social Security Administration will be available to answer questions about Social Security benefits and Medicare enrollment. They will also provide detailed instructions for accessing the Agency’s online services at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Back to top

OLLI Authors

OLLI Authors is a book talk series designed to recognize the many very talented poetry and prose writers among OLLI members.  OLLI Authors features readings by two published authors. On Thursdays, April 4th, and June 27, 2019, at 5:00 p.m.  OLLI Members will be the featured writers, reading from their works. This series is free and open to the public. Click here to view the OLLI Authors List that reflects books written by OLLI members while members of the OLLI community.

Back to top

Reuter Center Singers Spring Concert

On Saturday, May 4, 7 p.m., and Sunday, May 5, 3 p.m. the Reuter Center Singers, OLLI's in-house choral group directed by Chuck Taft, will perform an unforgettable show on the theme of Appalachia, for their annual Spring Concert. Light refreshments will follow; donations to support the group are welcome.

Back to top

 STEM Lectures

The theme for the upcoming STEM lectures is "STEM Activities on Campus."  These lectures will cover research both performed and in progress by UNC Asheville faculty and OLLI members.  In addition, it will cover faculty's research with students and outreach to the community.  Scheduled at 4:30 p.m. in the Reuter Center, this series is free and open to everyone.

  • Stem Lectures are on break, and will resume in the Fall, 2019. 

Back to top

Symphony Talk

Symphony Talks are an entertaining and educational way to hear about the music to be performed at the upcoming Asheville Symphony Orchestra (ASO) Masterworks Concerts.  The program begins with a presentation by Chip Kaufmann, who talks about the life and times of the featured composers.  ASO has just selected Darko Butorac as music director, and he will appear with the soloist for upcoming concerts to talk about how the orchestra prepares and to offer ways to listen to the performance. For more information about the Asheville Symphony Orchestra, or to find out how to purchase tickets for performances at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, visit ashevillesymphony.org

  • Friday, May 10, 3 p.m. Darko Butorac with soloist, Simone Porter, violin (Márquez, Saint-Saëns, Stravinsky)

Back to top


WNC History Association Lecture

The mission of the Western North Carolina Historical Association (WNCHA) is the preservation and promotion of the history of Western North Carolina through the care, interpretation, and presentation of the Smith-McDowell House, the education of the public through lectures, exhibitions, publications, and related events and the facilitation of cooperation among regional historical organizations.  A $5 donation is requested at the door (WNCHA members are free).

  • Saturday, May 18, 2 p.m.  
  • Saturday, July 27, 2 p.m.

World Affairs Council

Come to the Reuter Center for these fascinating lectures and discussions that aim to advance international awareness and foster Western North Carolina's global ties. All events are scheduled in the Manheimer Room, 7:30 p.m. - doors opening at 7 p.m.

April 2 - Dr. William Crowther, UNC-Greensboro: "Populism, Illiberalism and the Retreat from Democracy in Central Europe". Expanding on the themes and ideas in our final Great Decisions presentation by John Plant on Demography and political change, our April 2 presentation focuses on the political regimes and shifts that have taken place recently in Central Europe. Dr. William Crowther is a professor in the Department of Political Science at UNC-Greensboro. His work and teaching focus on general comparative politics, Russian and Central European politics, and ethnic conflict. He has served as a consultant on democratization for governmental and non-governmental organizations, and for the past two years, he authored the Freedom House Nations in Transit Reports on Moldova.

May 7 - Andrew S. Terrell: “Wing and a Prayer - Brexit as of May (As of May 7th… the date… not the Prime Minister): An update.” Americans have watched with curiosity and fascination UK's referendum and the subsequent Parliamentary moves that have characterized Brexit. We get the latest and official word on 7 May at our WAC event. Andrew S. Terrell is the British Consul for Business & Government Affairs and Head of the UK Government Office (UKGO) in Raleigh. This is the office from which The UK Government Office maintains and develops business, cultural, political, and scientific relationships with the State of North Carolina and other communities throughout the southeast. Andrew is originally from Western North Carolina and has lived and studied throughout Asia and Europe.  He is a graduate of Warwick University and Richmond International University in the United Kingdom.

WAC members and UNCA students admitted without charge.  Single admission, $10.00. Co-sponsored by WAC-WNC, OLLI, & the UNCA Political Science Department. For more details about programs, consult the WAC website.

Back to top