The Escape Arts Story

'It’s that moment when you realise you’re having so much fun that you forget volunteering changes lives…because its changing yours'

For 25 years Escape Arts has embedded high impact community arts and heritage practice across Warwickshire. Escape Arts became a charity in 2003, as a result of two local organisations: Escape Workshop, founded by Robin Wade in 1997 and Community Art in Action, founded by Karen Williams the same year, joining forces under a shared vision: bringing people together through creativity to address isolation, improve wellbeing and build strong, vibrant, inclusive and happy communities.  

Our passionate staff team, alongside dedicated volunteers and a dynamic collective of professional artists work at the heart of communities to respond to local need, finding exciting and new ways to celebrate powerful stories of people and places.  We create spaces where everyone is welcome, friendships are made and dreams & aspirations can flourish.  We have weekly community arts workshops, 6 week arts and nature projects and have a thriving Stratford youth service, all supported by our volunteer and work experience programmes.  We are proud to be a recipient of the Queens Awards for Volunteering.

Our home is a unique Grade ll listed formers Butchers, The Escape Arts & Heritage Centre, located in the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon.  We rescued this forgotten building and renovated it in 2014, exploring its rich social history: the site being a former slaughterhouse, Tudor pub, stonemasons and rope walk.  It is now a vibrant community arts centre where we deliver artist-led workshops, artist residencies, community projects and showcase art & heritage exhibitions and events.

Escape Arts has a sister project, Nuneaton Escape, based at Chilvers Coton Heritage Centre, that coordinates work in Nuneaton and across North Warwickshire. We have now adopted and renovated a new venue situated at Nuneaton Train Station: the Station Gallery, working with London Northwestern Railway and local arts organisation, Art Alert, to develop a thriving arts and heritage hub for the town.  Escape Arts has a history of taking over empty shop units and is currently running the Stratford Youth service form the old H&M shop in Bell Court.

Escape Arts operates a programme of community and commissioned outreach projects in schools, health settings and at community events/festivals.  Thanks to funding from Warwickshire County Council, we have a new multi-media arts van which will support our growing outreach delivery. To find out more about our van visit Escape On The Move.

We know and understand the impact arts can have on health and wellbeing. We develop targeted creative interventions and lead on transformative public art engagement and development in both community and healthcare settings. Our model is built on inclusivity, integration and independence, underpinned by enhancing wellbeing evidenced through evaluation and ‘Quality for Health’ policy.  Our work is locally led and embedded in the heart of communities.

‘All the staff are cheerful, accomplished and go the extra mile for everyone. They clearly make a difference to many lives. The certainly brighten our day.  We wouldn’t miss it for the world’.

I felt depressed and isolated, I believe if it were not for Escape Arts I would not have the support network to gain the confidence I now have. Escape Arts and the family I feel l had there are still there for me and have been a necessary support to get me where I am today” – Escape Arts Youth Volunteer

Sign-up for our newsletter

Sign-up Now

What our visitors say...