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In recognition of Detroit's tricentennial year in 2001, the Detroit Institute of Arts asked 15 artists to create installations taking the city as the theme. The result was an exhibition of 10 projects by Detroiters and non-Detroiters who examined aspects of the city's past and present; their own relationship to the city; and the museum's history.
Beginning in 1915, the DIA exhibited works by contemporary American artists each year until 1938, with a five-year absence due to the Great Depression. The project was spearheaded by the DIA's first curator of American art, Clyde H. Burroughs (1882-1973), who wanted to use the Annual to build the DIA's collection, especially in the areas of late American impressionism and the Ashcan School..