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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"

Bringing people together through creativity to address isolation, improve wellbeing and build strong, vibrant, inclusive and happy communities.

1997 - Two local arts charities are founded

Escape Workshop is founded by Robin Wade and Community Art in Action is founded by Karen Williams.

2003 - Escape Arts is born

Both charities join forces under a shared vision, with a new name: Escape Arts.

2014 - A new home

We rescue and renovate a unique Grade ll listed formers Butchers, which becomes our new home in Stratford-upon-Avon

2018 - Royal recognition

We were awarded the MBE for voluntary organisations, the Queens Award for Voluntary Service.

2022 - We turn 25

After 25 years we continue to provide community arts & heritage work across Warwickshire.

For 25 years Escape Arts has embedded high impact community arts and heritage practice across Warwickshire.

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 Heritage

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.

Bringing Escape Arts to more communities

A few of the recent developments from Escape Arts:


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.

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.