LAS VEGAS (KLAS-TV) – Gaining an appreciation for art, while learning tangible skills for success through Goodwill of Southern Nevada’s Student Work Experience Program (SWEP), which offers students with disabilities the opportunity to gain experience in a real-world work environment.

8 News Now joined the students on a tour of the Metropolitan Gallery Las Vegas Art Museum, located downtown in the Neonopolis complex.

Museum Director Mark Rowland said, “We refer to ourselves as the best kept secret in Las Vegas. It’s all about bringing art and an appreciation for art to the people of Las Vegas.”

With art from around the world, as well as the work of local artists, such as Jerry Blank, this is the largest exhibition facility for fine art in Las Vegas; and students seemed to soak in the incredible art as they genuinely enjoyed their experience.

The outing is just part of their summer program, which also includes field trips to the Hoover Dam and a backstage tour of “O” at the Bellagio. Students also work at a Goodwill Thrift Store for three weeks to gain work experience, and benefit from acquiring a bevy of new skills.

One prominent focus of the tour of Metropolitan Gallery Las Vegas Art Museum was that love of art can lead to a profession, as Rowland outlined, “Artists today use computers, software programs, and all sorts of things to create images that formerly they were unable to do. Art is not just a class that you take art can be a full-time career. It can actually be quite magical.”

478 students from 36 Clark County School District high schools participated in this innovative program last year, each one benefiting from skills learned, career goals discovered, tangible work experience gained, and a profound sense of accomplishment!

Mary Brabant, the Manager of Disabilities Program, summed up the positive impact of this program, “It makes me proud of them, it makes me proud of Goodwill because I think we are trying to find ways to serve the community, that we can bring individuals that have documented disabilities, or disabilities in general, into enjoying their life.