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The IDEA Center for the Arts opened on Market Street in downtown Camden Thursday. It will offer performances and classes in drama, visual arts, music and more.

Cherry Hill Courier-Post

London Daniels, age 10, sketches at a desk at the IDEA Center in Camden. (Photo: Phaedra Trethan)

CAMDEN — London Daniels sat alone, quietly sketching in a notebook, as politicians, business leaders, artists and performers milled around inside the IDEA Center. Soon, her brother Nash and her father Larry joined her, though, and Nash had a lot of thoughts about what he wanted to get out of the new center.

“Can I try more than one?” he asked his father, a retired Camden City police officer. 

“I want to take drama,” said the 8-year-old. “But can I take more, too?”

More: An IDEA taking hold in downtown Camden: A center for young artists

More: Program brings corporate tax dollars

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No trip to London is complete without a visit to its world-famous markets. Before coronavirus, shoppers from around the globe would browse stalls under Camden Market’s wooden Victorian-era arches or underneath the soaring industrial pillars of Spitalfields. Small market traders now acutely feel their absence, and fear the worst.



a group of people standing in front of a store: Camden Market, London. Musaddique


© Musaddique
Camden Market, London. Musaddique

“Summer months are usually the busiest in Camden Market, between July and September,” Maria Costello says. “It’s an absolute ghost town now.” 

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She hunches over a sewing machine inside Josiah Amari, her children’s clothes store, named after her son. It doubles as a workshop. A masked customer hesitantly browses her handmade infant kimonos and stretchable baby trousers. A freight train rumbles overhead just as the rare customer leaves. 

International tourists are long gone. Tourists from the US and Japan, who usually pack Camden’s cobbled alleyways, have not returned. Costello’s Middle Eastern customers usually

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