All courses will meet at the Waters-Moss Memorial Wildlife Preservation Area, primarily in the Moss Building and occasionally in the Hillcrest Community Center unless otherwise indicated.

Contact Osher@Mizzou

Email or call 573-882-8189.

To register for classes, call 573-882-8189.

Friday courses

Fall 2019 Semester

Potpourri of the Arts [8 SESSIONS]

9:30 – 11:00 a.m., Moss A
Fridays: Sept. 13, 20, 27; Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25; Nov. 1 

Each semester, Osher invites the movers and shakers of mid-Missouri’s arts scene to discuss, display, perform and showcase their work. Join us for this grab bag of arts topics. 

Coordinator: Carolyn Dye 

Sept. 13: The Stephens College School of Performing Arts Presents... 

Stop by and learn all that’s happening at the School of Creative and Performing Arts at Stephens College. Gail Humphries Mardirosian, Ruth Ann Burke and guest faculty will present the season highlights, inspired by this quote about the arts, “Better Child. Better Town. Better Nation. Better World.” You better be there! 

Instructors: Ruth Ann Burke, an alum of Stephens College, will be joined by Gail Humphries Mardirosian, dean of the School of Creative and Performing Arts, to share what is new this season with their talented students and professional guest artists. 

Sept. 20: University of Missouri Concert Series Update 

The leadership team at the University Concert Series will share a brief history of the Series, which is 112 years old, as well as information and video clips about the 2019–2020 season. 

Instructors: Josh Reid is the “front-of-house” coordinator at the University Concert Series. He is also the resident lighting designer for the Missouri Contemporary Ballet and a regular guest artist/ instructor at Stephens College. 

Wende Wagner is the operations coordinator for the University Concert Series. Originally from Wichita, Kansas, Wende graduated from MU with a B.A. in English literature. Previously, she was at the State Historical Society of Missouri as the membership program coordinator. She counts reading, musical theatre, yoga, her boxer-mix, Oliver, and soup among her myriad interests. Wende is excited to join the University Concert Series and help advance its mission to present diverse performances that educate and entertain mid-Missouri and spark imagination through the power of the performing arts. 

Robert Wells serves as director for the University Concert Series. 

Sept. 27: What’s New at the “We Always Swing” Jazz Series? 

Founded in 1995 as a community-based, all-jazz, concert-producing and educational organization, the “We Always Swing” Jazz Series’ mission is to present, promote, preserve and celebrate the great American art form known as “jazz.” Assistant Director Josh Chittum will speak about the history of jazz, what the Jazz Series does in our community and all the events they have lined up for their 25th Anniversary Celebration. The presentation will include listening to recordings of some of the artists coming to Columbia this season. 

Instructor: Josh Chittum grew up in the small town of Clarence, Mo. After graduating from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, he started at the “We Always Swing” Jazz Series and has worked there for the past nine years as the assistant director. 

Oct. 4: Voodoo Priests, Noble Savages and Ozark Gypsies: The Life of Folklorist Mary Alicia Owen (Sponsored by University of Missouri Press) 

Folklorist Wayland Hand once called St. Joseph, Mo., native Mary Alicia Owen “the most famous American Woman Folklorist of her time.” Drawing on primary sources, such as maps, census records, court documents, personal letters and periodicals, and the scholarship of others who have analyzed various components of Owen’s multifaceted career, historian Greg Olson offers the most complete account of her life and work to date. He also offers a critical look at some of the short stories Owen penned, sometimes under the name Julia Scott, and discusses how the experience she gained as a fiction writer helped lead her to a successful career in folklore. As Olson will show, Owen was more than just a folklorist— she was a nineteenth-century woman of many contradictions. She was an independent woman of many interests who possessed a keen intellect and a genuine interest in people and their stories. Join us for a discussion of this fascinating literary life. 

Instructor: Greg Olson is a historian, author and graphic artist who lives in Columbia. He is the author of six books, including books for adults and upper level elementary school students. His 2008 book, The Ioway in Missouri, won the Missouri Humanities Council’s Governor’s Humanities Award for Distinguished Literary Achievement. Olson’s most recent book, Ioway Life: Reservation and Reform, 1837-1860, (2016) was named a Kansas Notable Book in 2017. 

Oct. 11: Representations of Medicine in the History of Western Art 

This presentation will focus on Western art that features the following themes: positive and negative depictions of physicians, medical advances, medical practices of the times, plague art, disease as metaphor, art as relief of suffering and art that reflects the suffering of the artist. The presentation will end with a brief discussion of the use of art in the education of physicians. 

Instructor: After retiring as a physician, Robert (Robin) Blake developed a strong interest in art history. He has taken numerous courses on the MU campus, read extensively about art history and visited many art museums in the U.S. and Europe. He gave this presentation in June, 2017, and has since given presentations on Caravaggio and on nineteenth century French paintings. He serves as a docent at the MU Museum of Art and Archeology. 

Oct. 18: The Scruggs-Vandervoort-Barney Collection & More 

A representative from the University of Missouri Museum of Art and Archeology will talk about the current exhibit,Missouri Nostalgia: Works on Paper from the Scruggs-Vandervoort-Barney Collection, which comprises almost 100 paintings and drawings capturing rural and urban life in Missouri in 1946 and 1947. This exhibit runs until October 27, 2019. Information about upcoming museum exhibits will also be shared.

Instructor: Chuck Swaney is a docent at the Museum of Art and Archaeology at the University of Missouri. 

Oct. 25: The Author Jane Austen Might Have Been 

Jane Austen’s deft style, as we now know, was not entirely the product of an inherent gift, but was equally the product of meticulous craftsmanship and of the careful study of the writings of other women authors whom she viewed as her competitors. Jane’s primary resource for study was her brother Edward’s library in his estate at Godmersham Park. The selection of books he had is now well documented. Fordyce’s sermons are there (of course.) Francis Burney’s The Wanderer is there, but not Cecelia; Maria Edgeworth’s Belinda is there, but not Castle Rackrent; Ann Radcliffe’s Journey in Summer 1794 is there, but not Mysteries of Udolpho. And there is little contemporary non-fiction despite the momentous changes of that era: the French revolution, King George III’s deepening insanity and the resulting Regency, the Napoleonic wars and the vast social and economic changes of the industrial revolution. Jane learned much from her reading, especially from the more extravagant (and financially successful) books of her competitors. But she elected to go her own way. This course will discuss how Jane Austen’s reading influenced her own writing and speculates on what sort of writer she could have become if she had modeled her writing more closely on the writing of the authors she read. 

Instructor: Mike Trial worked as a civil engineer with the Corps of Engineers for 30 years at various locations in the U.S. and around the world. He is now retired, living on the family farm near Columbia, and spends his time writing novels. 

Nov. 1: Session TBA 

Please visit to see an updated PDF of the catalog — the session details will also be included in Osher’s weekly e-newsletter.