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.


Advance Care Planning

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville will hold an advance care planning (ACP) workshop on Thursday, Feb 20, 2020, 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. 

Here’s how to have your Advanced Directive (AD) added to the Mission Medical Record. Click here for a permission form; if you have not been a patient at Mission, fill it out. Get a copy of the notarized AD and a completed permission form (if needed) to Advance Care Planning at Mission by one of the following options: either ask a Mission representative at a workshop to do it, or, use the information at the bottom of the permission form to transmit the forms, by mail, fax, or email attachments.

The workshop will take place in the Reuter Center on the UNCA campus, at the north end of the campus map (Click Here to see map). This workshop is free and open to everyone, adults of all ages. Co-sponsored by OLLI and Mission Health Partners. For more information, call OLLI, 828.251.6140 or email  olli@unca.eduClick here to view an event flier.   

  • Thursday, February 20, 2019, 7-9 p.m.

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Alzheimer's Association Free Class Series

January 15th - 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer's - This program provides information on the common signs of Alzheimer's disease, and helps you know the differences between typical age related changes and something more serious.  We will take a look at why it's important to seek an early diagnosis, what type of doctor to see, and how to have a conversation with a loved one who may be resisting seeing their doctor.  We will also explore the resources provided by the Alzheimer's Association.

January 22nd- Dementia Conversations  - Conversations with family members who are showing signs of dementia can be challenging and uncomfortable. This workshop gives practical advice on having those difficult conversations surrounding going to the doctor, driving, and making financial/legal decisions surrounding dementia.  It also connects you with helpful resources to enhance the quality of life for everyone involved.
Jan 29th - Effective Communication Strategies for Dementia - Individuals living with dementia often experience changes in behavior that can be confusing to friends and family. For caregivers, learning to decode messages through attitude, tone of voice, facial expressions and body language can help both parties to connect and communicate in meaningful ways. This workshop provides helpful strategies to connect and improve communication at each stage of the disease. 

February 5th, 12th & 19th -  Caring for My Loved One with Dementia-Preparing for the Road Ahead -  In this 3 part series, we will discuss the changes that take place with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, and provide practical strategies to make life easier as you transition into the role of a caregiver.  You will learn effective means of dealing with behavioral changes that keep everyone calm and respectful. We will also discuss hands-on techniques for daily care, such as dressing, eating and toileting, while maintaining your loved ones independence. We will also cover making decisions surrounding care as the disease progresses, and the guilt that often accompanies this role. This is a great all inclusive program for anyone who may be, or become a caregiver of a loved one with dementia.

Astronomy Club of Asheville

The Astronomy Club of Asheville meets the first Thursday of each month, from 7- 9 p.m., (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 December 5, February 6, March 5, and April 2. 

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 $8 at the door; mark your calendar for:

  • Sunday, March 29, 2020 at 2:30 PM - Harvey, BY Mary Chase, Directed by Marianne Lyon
    • Genial, mild mannered Elwood P. Dowd has a special friend in Harvey, a large and gentle rabbit whom only he can see and hear.  Utterly mortified, his social climbing sister tries to have him committed to a mental institution, but her plans go hilariously awry in this beloved American
  • Sunday, April 26, 2020 at 2:30 PM - The Chalk Garden, by Enid Bagnold, Directed by Anita Chapman
    • In this gentle thriller set in a faded English manor house, barren soil becomes a metaphor for lack of love.  When a mysterious governess enters a dysfunctional upper middle class family, her wit and compassion and knowledge of gardening transform a hollow and meaningless world of social pretense into earth which is rich with the promiseof life.

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: March 20, and May 1, 1 and 1:30 p.m.  For more information on NC Stage, click here to visit their website.

  • Friday, January 31, 1 p.m. Jeeves Saves the Day is an all new world premiere! Once again, Bertie finds himself suffering the slings and arrows of misfortune at the hands of his relatives, caught between the magisterial machinations of his fierce Aunt Agatha and the plaintive pleadings of his cousin Egbert. Sir Roderick Glossup and his daughter add to another priceless predicament calling upon the redoubtable Jeeves to save the day.
  • Friday, March 20, 1 p.m.Well. In this funny and touching comedy about mothers and daughters, mind over body, social activism, and theatre itself, Lisa, the onstage playwright, attempts a memory play about her force-of-nature mother, Ann, who, though constantly ill, manages to heal a community. The playwright asks the provocative question: “Do we create our own illness?”  *please note earlier start time
  • Friday, May 1, 1:30 p.m. - The Lifespan of a Fact: A determined young fact checker is about to stir up trouble. The demanding editor has given him a big assignment: apply his skill to a groundbreaking piece by the unorthodox author. Together, they take on the high-stakes world of publishing in this new comedy of conflict. The ultimate showdown between fact and fiction is about to begin—with undeniably delicious consequences. Discretionary Warning: Adult themes and language.

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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, January 12, February 9, March 8, and April 12, 2020.  For more information please visit: http://www.cnpa.org/regions/asheville/

**Dec 8th CNPA Holiday part location change - Click Here for more information 

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Creativity Workshops

  • Wednesday, March 18 and Thursday, March 19, 12 p.m. - Become a Creative Genius (again) 1 and 2

Last year Carl Nordgren hoped to attract 25 OLLI members to a 2 hour workshop on how to grow your creative capacity and develop your entrepreneurial instincts and over 75 folks attended. He shared the recent research about how biological changes to a 55+ brain invite creative growth, and he offered tips and concepts that are proven to help folks accelerate and sustain that growth.
He was eager to return and share more so we invited him back for this two part series of workshops. 
He’ll share new insights into the research and an additional study he’s found. He’ll break down the proven principles and practices that grow creative capacities and help you apply them. The workshops are fast paced, with plenty of creative exercises. And he’s designed the workshops so that you will be well served even if you can only attend one.

  • Saturday, March 21, 1 p.m. - Story and Storytelling

Carl Nordgren has studied story from many perspectives.  He’s an award winning novelist. He used story as a leadership tool when he was an entrepreneur. He is committed to being the story teller for his family stories, those from long ago and those created today. His creativity work explores story as a generative technology. And he understands how the story we tell about ourselves to ourselves shape what happens to us next. This workshop will explore the profound role stories play, and set aside time for folks to do their own storytelling.


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, January 17, February 21, March 20, and April 24, 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

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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 and will resume after winter break on Tuesday, March 17, and April 21 2020, 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. 

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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.

  • January 17: Blue Horizons Energy Project, Sophie Mullinax

Blue Horizons Project Coordinator Sophie Mullinax will present the Blue Horizons Project, a community-wide effort dedicated to creating a clean energy future for Asheville and Buncombe County. The Blue Horizons Project provides information, resources, and tips that allow everyone to be a part of making that happen.  Learn specifically about programs designed to help your home or business become more energy efficient and contribute to efforts to control our area’s energy demand. The Blue Horizons Project grew out of a nationally-unique partnership between the City of Asheville, Buncombe County, and Duke Energy to avoid investments in new fossil fuel infrastructure and instead invest in energy efficiency, demand management, and clean energy.

  • January 24: Colon Cancer: Prevention, Screening Choices, Genetic Factors and what to do if you have Precancerous Polyps, Dr. Richard Smith

Dr. Richard L. Smith is a graduate of Tulane Medical School, Board Certified in Internal Medicine from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and Board Certified in Gastroenterology and Hepatology from UNC, Chapel Hill.  He helped found and practiced at Asheville Gastroenterology Associates for 38 years, retiring in 2015. His talk on colon cancer and precancerous polyps will help people be knowledable consumers as they make decisions on how to prevent, treat and survive colon cancer. This lecture is part of the Health Education Series.

  • January 31:  Everyone Deserves a Place to Call Home: Habitat’s Vision for Asheville, Andy Barnett

The Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity has an especially interesting history as one of the first affiliates in the US. It has lived the commitment to helping people find safe, affordable housing through a program of volunteerism and community engagement. As one of several organizations in our area envisioning the future of affordable housing, they provide more than green-built homes. Hear about the ReStore and its expansion, as well as how local organizations interact to make a safe home and community a reality. Since joining the Asheville affiliate in early 2016 Andy Barnett, Executive Director with more than 20 years of Habitat experience, has overseen an expanded advocacy role for Asheville’s Habitat affiliate, as well as increasing a home-repair program and launching an aging-in-place initiative. Come learn about their commitment and future plans for our area.

  • February 7: Acupuncture Is More Than Just Needles; How to Apply this Ancient Medical System to Your Daily Life, Ashley Kuper, L.A.c., Dipl.OM

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine have deep and extensive roots dating back over 2000 years yet many are unaware of the practices and benefits behind this proven ancient science. Acupuncturist Ashley Kuper will lead us in a discussion of the foundational treatment principles of Acupuncture to unveil both its art and science, covering topics such as Tongue and Pulse diagnosis, Five Element Theory, and Chinese Dietary therapy. Mrs. Kuper will walk us through how acupuncture can successfully diagnose and discover the root cause of our imbalances.  Ashley Kuper holds a Master's degree in Chinese Medicine from Daoist Traditions of Chinese Medical Arts in Asheville, NC. Her passion and areas of expertise encompass pain management, stress relief, digestive disorders, chronic and autoimmune diseases, psycho-emotional issues, as well as overall health maintenance. This lecture is part of the Health Education Series.

  • February 14: Blanket Town: The Rise and Fall of an American Mill Town, Rebecca Williams

East of Asheville, North Carolina, in the small mountain town of Swannanoa, Beacon Manufacturing was once the largest maker of blankets in the world. Gob Martin, a woodcarver and storyteller who worked at Beacon for 45 years—and played shortstop on the company baseball team—described Beacon as the “big red thumping heart of Swannanoa.”  The mill closed its doors in 2002. When an arsonist set fire to the building shortly thereafter, the people of Swannanoa realized that the mill and the middle class lifestyle its jobs afforded, weren’t coming back. Blanket Town examines the complex history of the textile industry in the South and what happens to a community when it loses its economic engine and its heart. Filmmaker and oral historian Rebecca Williams will present excerpts from her documentary Blanket Town and discuss the mill’s legacy and the future of Swannanoa.

  • February 21: The Placebo Effect, Dr. Adrian Sandler

Placebos and placebo effects shine a fascinating spotlight on the human mind in health and illness. Dr Sandler will discuss the history of placebos in medicine, and cutting edge research regarding the mechanisms of placebo effects. Drawing upon his own research in children with ADHD, he’ll review studies of contemporary therapeutic use of placebos and the associated ethical dilemmas. He will discuss the interest and acceptability of placebo use in health care among health care providers, and some of the barriers to wider efforts to harness the power of placebos. Adrian Sandler received his medical degree from Cambridge England; he is the Medical Director of Mission Children’s Hospital, and Associate Professor of Pediatrics, UNC. This lecture is part of the Health Education Series.

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Spring Member Social

Join your OLLI friends for the Spring Member Social. Take this opportunity to socialize, enjoy delicious food, drinks and a few other surprises. Stay tuned for more info on what you can look forward to this spring!

  • Stay tuned for more information!

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, January 24 at 2 p.m.: Peek behind-the-scenes of Asheville’s home-grown music collective celebrating its 20th season! Free and open to the public. Bassoonist Rosalind Buda will play music, demonstrate the sonorous and unique bassoon, and speak about Pan Harmonia’s January 26 concert, “Back to the Bassooniverse,” featuring incredible music for 4 bassoons. And she might even play bagpipes in preparation for her Celtic Corner concert on Feb 23.

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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, February 28, 2020, 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.

  • Friday, February 28, 2020, 2-4 p.m.

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New Member Welcome!

Are you new to OLLI at UNC Asheville and the Reuter Center? Are you returning after being gone awhile? Come to the New Member Welcome to learn about all that OLLI has to offer and about ways to get involved. Meet other members and learn what it means to “grow through life.”

Friday, March 20, 2020 - 10 a.m.

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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 Thursday, January 23, 2020, 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.

  • January 23, 2019, at 5:00 p.m.  - Featuring Wallace Bohanan and Maria Thomas.

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Safe Driving Program

Do you know the three most dangerous driving concerns for drivers over 50? What is the # 1 cause of accidents in North Carolina? Are roundabouts safer or just a confusing mess?

The AARP Smart Driver course is the first, research based refresher course designed specifically for  drivers 50+. It addresses these and other questions and covers the basics of “What’s Changing”, which is everything from cars, roads, and traffic patterns to, of course, all of us! There is no “behind the wheel” time to worry about, no one is assessing your abilities, and there are no tests to take. This is a one day, four hour offering. Cost is $15 to AARP members, $20 non-members (It is not necessary to be an OLLI member to sign up for this course). To register for the session, contact instructor Celeste Selwyn, 828-708-7404 or email at: csel@mindspring.com

  • Stay tuned for the next upcoming class in Spring 2020

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. The theme for the 2019-20 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineer and Math) Lecture Series is “Science vs. Science Denial.”  This series of lectures is especially important in light of the current climate of science denial. It is more important than ever to emphasize the benefits we receive from science and technology, and to expose the detrimental effects of denying science.

  • January 30, 4:30 p.m. - Vaccines vs. Vaccine Deniers, Amanda Maxwell: Amanda Maxwell, UNC Asheville Pre-Health Professions Advising Coordinator and Lecturer in Health and Wellness Promotion, will speak on "Vaccines vs.Vaccine Deniers"
  • February 13, 4:30 p.m. - Evolution vs. Evolution Deniers, Marty Stickle: Why is evolution established scientific truth?  We will first explore the definition of evolution.  Then we’ll give a short history of evolutionary theory and contrast this with the beliefs of the deniers.  We’ll give an outline of the mechanisms of evolution and we’ll explore how we distinguish between hypothesis, theory and scientific law. In order to understand the central role of evolution, we’ll explore how genetics controls organisms and then examine how changes in genetic information result in evolutionary events.  We’ll show how evolutionary science has changed since Darwin and also how humans have influenced evolution.  We’ll give multiple examples of evolution in action and relate these to the beliefs of the deniers.

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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.  ASO music director Darko Butorac and guest conductors 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, February 21, 3 p.m. – “Mountains to Sea”: Copeland’s Appalachian Spring, Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony; performances by the Asheville Symphony Chorus
• Friday, March 20, 3 p.m. – “Under the Influence”: Miranda’s Temporal Variations, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 and Brahms’ Symphony No. 1, with pianist Sara Daneshpour

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Reuter Center Singers Spring Concert

The Reuter Center Singers, OLLI's in-house choral group directed by Chuck Taft, study and perform classical, popular and show tunes. Light refreshments follow.  The performance is free, but donations are welcome.

  •  Saturday, May 2, 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 3, 3 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. These lectures are sponsored by the WNC chapter of the World Affairs Council, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UNC Asheville, and the University’s Department of Political Science.

Admission to World Affairs Council presentations at UNC Asheville is $10 for the public; free to members of the World Affairs Council and UNC Asheville students. All events are scheduled in the Manheimer Room, 7:30 p.m. - doors opening at 7 p.m.

  • February 4
  • February 11
  • February 18
  • February 25
  • March 3
  • March 10
  • March 24

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.

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