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winter 2018
Book your escape

Book your escape

Rutherfords invite Terriers to try Escape Artist Greenville

Kim and Will Rutherford ’07 believe everyone needs a place to escape to ... and from. In Escape Artist Greenville, they’ve created both.

Their custom escape room adventures are designed to “transport people to another world,” says Will. “We want to give people a fun experience that they haven’t seen somewhere else.”

That’s one of the things that set Escape Artist Greenville apart from other escape rooms. Will and Kim design each game themselves. They create the story, set the stage and are always looking for the next challenge for their guests.

Currently, Escape Artist Greenville offers four adventures: Dr. Fratelli’s Cabin (a traditional escape), the Fallout (a team-building challenge), The Inventor’s Enigma (a rescue mission) and The Lift (an abbreviated elevator scenario).

The Rutherfords started Escape Artist Greenville in 2016 and moved to their current location on 209 East Stone Ave. in Greenville, S.C., in September 2017. Their passion for creating fun experiences for others, however, started long before that.

Will, an offensive lineman for the Terriers during his college days, majored in physics partly because of his mild obsession with theme parks. He did two internships at theme parks as a student (one at Universal Studios in Orlando and the other in Germany) and was one of the masterminds behind Pi Kappa Die, the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity Halloween haunted house.

He met Kim while getting his master’s degree in engineering at Clemson University. Will earned his master’s degree in 2009 and went to work for General Electric in Florence, S.C. In 2011 GE transferred him to Greenville, where he worked with the company for five more years. During this time Will and Kim were spending much of their down time creating adventures.

“Every year we would spend months working to build and design a haunted house with 12 actors that we ran one night a year for free,” says Kim. While the two loved the creativity and camaraderie that came from the experience, it seemed a shame to do so much work for such a short period of time. At a home haunters convention, Will and Kim went to a session on escape rooms.

“We started planning on the way home,” says Will. “Kim’s the risk taker, so not long after we got back she met with a realtor and signed a lease for the space.”

Will now uses his engineering skills exclusively at Escape Artist Greenville, and Kim, a physical therapist by day, does whatever needs to be done in her off time. They also have five additional part-time team members who love dressing up, getting into character and sharing their passion for escape rooms.

According to Will, Escape Artist Greenville will have a horror room ready in time for Halloween 2018, and he and Kim are planning a comical adventure as well. “Maybe we’ll have people escape from their great-aunt’s dinner party or something like that,” says Will.

They’re even taking The Lift adventure to a wedding in October.

“This couple came to our escape room, became addicts and were engaged in an escape room,” says Will.

To learn more or book your escape, visit


By Jo Ann Mitchell Brasington ’89