There are three key positions open or occupied on an interim basis at art institutions across Seattle right now: modern/contemporary curator at Seattle Art Museum, chair of the art department at Cornish College of the Arts, and director of the School of Art at the University of Washington.

1. The curator job was vacated (with some helpful attitude!) last year by Michael Darling, who went on to become curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

SAM spokeswoman Cara Egan could only give the vaguest answer on the curator search, but she did indicate that it's under way: "Our search committee has identified some great candidates. We hope to have someone in place within the next six months," she wrote in an e-mail.

2. Cornish's art department is being run on an interim basis this year and next by Bonnie Biggs. I'm planning to sit down with her soon to see what's up at the school in this between time, and what kind of leader she and others would like to follow come fall 2012.

In the meantime, Cornish will spend next year getting used to its new president, Nancy Uscher, who starts in August (my quick interview with her). (On Sunday, April 10, Cornish is doing a fancy send-off for 17-year president Sergei Tschernisch.)

3. UW School of Art directorships are appointments that last five years, and design professor Chris Ozubko is finishing out his third consecutive term this year. Many have said that the school needs fresh direction and vision—and I agree.

But some others I've talked to behind the scenes recently are in a batten-down-the-hatches mentality, due to the state budget cuts Ozubko mentions in his recent director's newsletter. And they point out that the directorship, which takes a professor's attention away from his/her own teaching and program, is not exactly a plum job. Will it simply fall to Ozubko again?

Who should fill this weird job at this weird time? Conversations with a few faculty members yielded a couple suggestions, but the name Jamie Walker came up repeatedly. Walker is known for his creative and capable stewardship of the transition of ceramics, metal, and other sculptural practices into a single 3D4M department—and artists tend to respect him. I've called him several times to ask him about all of this, but he's ducking the questions for now.

A committee of three—dance professor Elizabeth Cooper, Henry Art Gallery director Sylvia Wolf, and painting professor Denzil Hurley—interviewed about 40 people in the last few months, Wolf told me by phone today. They'll issue a public report about the state of the School of Art—it's due to the dean on April 1—and they'll also issue a private report to the dean at the same time, which will identify potential candidates for the directorship for the next five years.

We won't know the candidates until the choice is announced, but more generally, what kind of leader does the school need now? Wolf said she couldn't comment in advance of the report's release.

We'll anxiously await the report.