THE woman who secured Scotland's largest award from the National Lottery for an arts project is tipped to become director of the Scottish Arts Council.

Ms Andrea Stark, chief officer for arts and heritage at Dundee City Council, built the partnership that made possible the city's Centre for Contemporary Arts. Yesterday, she emerged as a front-runner to replace Ms Seona Reid, who is to become director of Glasgow School of Art.

Ms Stark moved to Scotland from Sunderland City Council to head up the establishment of a major visual arts centre in the city, a priority of the city's arts strategy. In October 1996, Dundee Contemporary Arts was awarded #5.4m, Scotland's largest grant from the Scottish Arts Council's National Lottery Fund and the building was opened in March.

The centre is home to Ms Stark's council department and to students from the University of Dundee, but is substantially a public building with large modern gallery spaces and two cinemas. The building's design by architect Richard Murphy has been widely praised.

Ms Stark faces a second interview this week in competition with another applicant, believed to be from south of the Border. She was one of seven candidates for the top post at the SAC interviewed on Monday, including the deputy director Mr Barclay Price and his predecessor, Ms Christine Hamilton, who is now at Glasgow City Council.

Other candidates included Ms Anna Stapleton, former director of dance and drama at the SAC and now doing the same job for the Arts Council of England, and Professor Ian Brown, who was recently made a Dean at Queen Margaret University College in Edinburgh and was director of drama at the Arts Council of Great Britain until 1994.