creative team

Arianna Hurtado | Actress, Instructor, and NECS Program Coordinator 

Arianna knows how important community service and social justice is to our community. She is an active community leader, advocate, and volunteer. Her initial involvement with NECS was in 2007 when she participated in “The Lorax” as the Lorax. In the 2020 summer she made a full circle when she applied to be a development intern. Arianna was asked to come on as an administrative assistant and quickly promoted to Program Coordinator in Fall 2021. She is also one of NECS’ Drama Instructors. Arianna graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where she obtained a BFA in Drama with a minor in Business Entertainment Media and Technology. She looks forward to continuing to be an integral part of New Era Creative Space.

Susan Cody| Music Director

Susan Cody studied music at Ithaca College. She is a full time private music teacher since 1979, mostly piano, but flute and voice as well. She has taught classroom music and created a series of classes in the elements of music called “What’s That Sound?” Susan Cody has been the Music Director for The Children’s Theatre Company of Peekskill since its beginning in 2006. She is currently directing the One World Youth Choir. Susan has also had a lifetime commitment to furthering the unity of the human family. Among her many activities to this end was The Leaves of One Tree Race Unity Workshop, which she and friend Barbara Arrington developed and led for many community groups for over ten years. She shares her home and studio space with her graphic designer husband, Tom and spends as much of her time as she can with her nine grandchildren.

Leslie Fields Cruz | Board Member, Actor & Producer

Leslie Fields-Cruz has directed several youth theater shows including “Show Way”, “Henry Box Brown“, “Respect” , and “Change Reaction” with New Era Creative Space (NECS), and “Once on This Island”, “Grease”, and “Best Friends” with City Lights Youth Theater. When she is not playmaking at NECS, Leslie is the Executive Director of Black Public Media, a non-profit media arts organization that has funded awarded winning documentary films such as “I Am not Your Negro” and “180 Days: Inside an American High School”. Leslie is also the Executive Producer of the PBS series “AfroPOP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange”. She serves on the board of New York Women in Film & Television and lives in Cortlandt Manor with her family. In her down time…does she really have any? Leslie can be found watching sci-fi tv and movies, especially Star Wars.

Ocean Morisset |Photograher

Ocean Morisset an internationally exhibited, self-taught (freelance) photographer specializing in Photojournalism and Documentary photography. Ocean also explores Fine Art photography and engages with a wide range of subjects in life, though his passion remain in telling stories with images. Ocean’s choice of subject matter reveals his humanitarianism, as he has a keen eye for the unnoticed and under-appreciated aspects of life, and presents them in a way that the viewer takes hold of the image for their own self-reflection.

Ocean currently resides in Peekskill, New York.
You may view his work at

Belle Ritter | Dancer/Choreographer

Belle Ritter began her professional studies at the High School of Performing Arts in 1983 where she received training in Classical Ballet, and Modern Dance techniques (Graham, Horton and Limon). In addition, Belle has trained at the Bronx Dance Theater, Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Broadway Dance Center and Herbert Berghoff Studios in New York City. She continued to study dance at Purchase College Dance Conservatory, working with choreographers Kevin Wynn, Doug Verone and David Parsons. Belle has always sought opportunities to merge her passion for dance, commitment to family and community with the importance of a well rounded education as a performing arts educator/instructor throughout NYC and Westchester. As the owner/director of Dance Networks, in Peekskill, she has been able to create a family-friendly environment offering varied styles of classical, cultural and social dance classes for all ages.