It was pretty easy getting back into the swing of things following my two-week vacation.

And while this is my first column after my return and I'd love to share how I spent my time off, I'll save that for another time.

Rather, I'm encouraging the community to come out tonight to Noblesville's Forest Park Inn, where Noblesville High School students will have their artwork on display.

The exhibit, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. today, will showcase 50 art entries from NHS students whose work will be in the 2017 Parks & the Arts Mayor's Luncheon competition. Admission to tonight's reception is free.

I learned about tonight's sneak peek from Parks Foundation board member Terri Sigman-Kennedy.

"At this event, the public will be allowed to view all the pieces and bid on pieces they would like to purchase," she said. All of the pieces will then be moved to the third annual Parks & the Arts Mayor's Luncheon, where bidding will continue.

This year's theme is "What's Your Local Landmark?"

"The artist interpretations of the theme each year is quite interesting," said Parks Foundation president Anne Merrell.

Entries include artwork of places, such as Noble Coffee and Tea, the Hamilton County Courthouse, local homes and sites in the parks and city. Entries are photographs, paintings, 2D pieces and ceramics.

"The quality of the artwork that is produced by the art students is admirable," Merrell said. "At a young age, the artists learn that the public appreciates their creativity and abilities and wants to display their works in their homes and work spaces."

Ann Minnich, a board member of both the Parks Foundation and Noblesville Parks, said, "The (Foundation) board, as a whole, was greatly impressed with the quality of the art and the time invested to create the art. We're thrilled that the students wish to donate their efforts to raise funds for the parks."

The NHS art students will be there tonight to talk to the public about their pieces. "We'd love for lots of people to come," Minnich said.

Of the 50 entries, the Top 12 (by board vote on March 22) have been made into notecards, which will be sold at the events and at Noblesville Parks' office at Forest Park Inn. The Top 12 students with winning artwork are Carolyn Chinni, Elizabeth Clark, Hannah Clayton, Alexia Davis, Emily Faust, Katie Faust, Alexis Gilbert, Kelsey Hughes, Emily Kiser, Cortney Magson, Carlie Niezer and Ryan Wheeler.

These 12 students will be recognized by Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear during the 2017 Parks & the Arts Mayor's Luncheon on April 28 at Harbour Trees Golf & Beach Club in Noblesville.

First rights for the artwork went to the student artists for a $25 donation to the Foundation. Bids will continue for the remaining artwork through noon on April 28 at the luncheon. Luncheon tickets are $75; reservation deadline is Monday, by calling Mike Hoffmeister at (317) 776-6350. Sponsorships are still available.

The Noblesville Parks Foundation is a joint venture between the parks and their citizen supporters to serve as a fundraising auxiliary for the Noblesville Parks and Recreation Department and its programs. The Foundation also serves as a volunteer coordination resource for the department. Officers include: Anne Merrill, president; Sam Robinson, secretary; Tom Gang, treasurer; and Ann Minnich, Trish Crist, Terri Sigman-Kennedy, Tyler Welsh and Mike Hoffmeister, members; and Brandon Bennett ex-officio.

-Contact me at