Reigning Beaux Arts Ball royalty to hand over crowns



Jacksonville Arts Association’s 2020 Fine Arts Ball King and Queen Claire Cody and Owen Blackorby prepare to crown their successors on July 31 at this year’s “Run for the Roses” Ball. .

Blackorby participated as an eighth grade student in the association’s 2012 Bal des Beaux Arts, which had a “Black and White” theme. He was also a senior attendant at the 2016 Glitz, Glamor and Gatsby Ball.

Blackorby is an avid Scout who began his Scouting journey with Troop 107 in 2010 when he was 12 years old. While in Troop 107, he served as a chaplain aide, scribe, deputy patrol leader, patrol leader, deputy senior patrol leader, senior patrol leader and troop instructor. Blackorby has also participated in many Scouting events including the Klondike Derby, Lincoln Trail, Council Camporee, Gettysburg Historic Trail and several summer camps at Camp Bunn. Blackorby has also attended Citizenship Days, toured the Jacksonville Airport and Stewart Auto Body, and had the opportunity to ride with an officer from the Jacksonville Police Department. He actively participated in the annual first aid meetings. Blackorby has also attended many parades and flag raising ceremonies. In 2013, Owen completed his Order of the Arrow ordeal. He also had the privilege of attending the Freedom Foundation Youth Leadership Conference in Valley Forge, PA, hosted by Illinois AMVETS. While there, Blackorby was part of the Color Guard.



While a member of Troop 107, Blackorby received the Ronald C. Stevenson Camper Award in 2013 and 2014 and the Ronald F. Burchett Patrol Leader Award in 2014. He also received the Richard J. Matthews Advancement Award in 2015 He also received the Do a Good Turn award several years while in the troupe.

The Blackorby Eagle Scout Project involved renovating the Washington Elementary School Butterfly Garden. He replaced the fence, removed weeds and stumps, planted new plants, and made new paths in the garden. This project helped clear the grounds and gave Washington students something to admire on the way to the bus.


Blackorby is a life member of Trinity Episcopal Church, where he has been a sidekick and volunteer, helping to organize doorbell dinners and working on service projects for the upkeep of the church.

Blackorby is a 2016 graduate of Jacksonville High School. While a student at JHS he was involved with the golf team during his first and second years. He was a member of the Geo Club for one year and a member of the German Club for four years, serving as Vice-President during his final year. He was the 2015 delegate of the American Legion Illinois Boys State, where he was elected city police chief and militia captain. He was also a member of the JHS Orchestra. In 2015, he traveled to Germany with the GAAP program. He was named the Kiwanis Professional Student of the Month.

Blackorby attended Lincoln Land Community College from 2016 to 2018, where he earned an Associate’s Degree with Distinction in Criminal Justice.

In 2018, Blackorby transferred to the University of Georgia in Athens to complete his BA in Criminal Justice. While there, he was a Dawg’s Day of Service volunteer and an avid UGA Bulldogs track and field fan, attending as many sporting events as possible. Blackorby graduated after completing an internship with the United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force in Atlanta, Georgia. Throughout his internship, Blackorby was involved in criminal investigations and criminal arrests in the northern Georgia region. He also participated in tactical training for deputy marshals.

Blackorby works at DOT Foods in Mount Sterling. In her spare time, Blackorby enjoys photographing sports and spending time outdoors.

Her parents, Brian and Mary Watts, have served on various committees for previous Fine Arts balls, including the dance committee for “Hollywood Nights”, the stage dismantling committee for several years, the stage construction committee. for 2019’s “A Night with the Royals,” and the Flower Girls and Pages committee for this year’s prom. They also served as the host for a gallery opening.

Alongside Blackorby, Claire Elizabeth Cody, queen of the Beaux-Arts 2020 ball, will also crown her successor at this year’s ball. Cody is the daughter of Jon F. and Lori Cody of Jacksonville and the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Richard M. Cody of Jacksonville and the late Mr. and Mrs. Dale V. Gibbs.

A 2016 graduate from Jacksonville High School, Cody received her Bachelor of Science in Community Health with a concentration in Health Planning and Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After graduating, Cody accepted a job with Lake County Workforce Development, where she is project manager for the COVID-19 Contact Tracer Grant. She works as a career specialist for low-income and displaced workers and enrolls them under federal WIOA grant policy to use career and training services.

From a young age, Cody has had a passion for football. She has been a four-time All-Conference selection for the Central State Eight and a four-time All-Sectional selection while playing at JHS. She ended her high school career with 81 goals and 37 assists and was a two-time co-captain. While in high school, she also played club soccer for the National League of Metropolitan Elite Clubs of St. Louis Scott Gallagher. During its junior year, the team qualified for the national tournament in Seattle, Washington, and took third place in the country.

Cody began her college career at Indiana University-Purdue University in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on a Division 1 football scholarship. At IPFW, she volunteered for the annual Run 4 Scholarships 5K in helping to organize the race and register participants. She also volunteered in the Fort Wayne Mini Donations Sports Program for children. She taught soccer skills, drills, scrums and basics with an emphasis on fun, sportsmanship and teamwork.

Cody transferred to the University of Illinois in the fall of 2017, volunteering at the Carle Foundation Hospital under contract management during her graduate years. Cody was responsible for the main lines of the contracts, file management and database management. This spring semester, Cody interned with Lynne Barnes, Senior Vice President and COO, and Elizabeth Angelo, Senior Vice President of Quality and Assistant Director of Nursing, for the Foundation Hospital. Because the.

Some of his duties as an intern included performing hand hygiene audits of hospital staff, attending physician and administrator meetings, and participating in daily safety meetings with representatives from each hospital department. In addition, she attended meetings relating to the future expansion of the hospital and the updating and development of certain areas of the hospital, as well as disaster seminars with an emphasis on the current coronavirus crisis.

Cody was active on the University of Illinois campus. She participated in IlliniThon, a dance marathon that raises funds for St. John’s Children’s Hospital in Springfield. She was a member of IlliniThon’s management team this year, before being promoted to Deputy Director of Recruitment.

As part of the ACE IT program, she moderated discussions for incoming students, covering topics such as alcohol, drugs and the culture of alcohol consumption on campus.

A lifetime member of the art association, Cody has participated in three previous Beaux-Arts balls – as a flower girl in “Au Bal Masque” in 2004, as a junior attendant in “Black and White Ball” in 2012 and as a senior maid in “Glitz, Glamor and Gatsby.

Cody’s parents are life members, and his father has attended three Beaux-Arts balls – as a page in 1968, a junior assistant in 1976, and as a senior usher in 1980. His older sister, Bailey Rene Duarte, is also a life member and competed in three rounds – as a flower girl in 1998, as a junior attendant in 2006, and as a senior maid in 2010.

Her mother has participated in numerous Fine Arts prom committees and co-chaired the 2011 prom with Cody’s grandmother and aunt, Donna Cody and Cathy Hackett, respectively. The three also chaired the Lawn Parties of 2008 and 2015. His grandmother is a former member of the board of directors of the arts association and was appointed honorary member of the board of directors in 2017.

Cody’s grandfather, Richard Cody, was master of ceremonies for a former Beaux-Arts ball, and his great-grandfather, the late Willard Cody, was master of ceremonies for the first and second Beaux-Arts ball . Her great-grandmother, the late Margery Cody, was co-chair of the 1966 ball.

Her great-aunt, Charlotte Cody Cave, was the queen of the “Gay Nineties” fine art prom of 1961. Claire’s cousin, Katherine Spencer Hackett, was the prom queen of 2017, “Pop Revolution: Revive the Movement” .

The Queen’s escort for the evening will be Jonathan R. “Jonny” Peak. Jonny is the son of Peter and Paula Peak from Jacksonville. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 2019 and lives in Springfield. He works for Imawhale Staking Group.

A champagne reception will precede the coronation of the King and Queen from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on July 31 at the David Strawn Gallery. Anyone attending the ball is also invited to the reception.

Patron tickets and general tickets for the ball itself will be available prior to the ball at the Annie Merner Chapel on the former MacMurray College campus. Immediately after the coronation, Fun DMC entertainment and hors d’oeuvres will continue until 11 p.m. at nearby McClelland Hall.

Patron tickets are $ 40 and include admission to the coronation, reception, and dance, while general tickets are $ 10 and include admission to the coronation and reception.

A hearing-impaired interpreter will be available at the Coronation and disabled seating will be available. For more information, call the Strawn Gallery at 217-243-9390.



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