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Lilac City Live

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Lilac City Live

Spokane Public Library, Wash.

2018 | Top Innovator

Innovation Synopsis

Lilac City Live is a late night talk show that showcases everything Spokane. Audience members enjoy local craft brews while watching musical performances, stand up comedians and interviews with local authors, artists and celebrities. It is hosted in a custom-built performance space on the third floor of the Downtown Library.


For years, our Downtown Library was not a community destination. A local research hub beloved by the community but seldom visited by it, the library boasted monthly program attendance numbers in the single digits. We knew that we needed to do something to shake things up and capture the community’s attention. We had to bring some life back into this anchor on the west end of Main Street.

Key Elements of Innovation

We came up with a conceptual design, and our talented facilities department built the stage. We outfitted it with lights and sound gear, all on a shoestring budget. We leveraged community partners to get the show filmed, local breweries to provide the beer and local talent to make it a show worth coming to. We worked with local comedic personality Ryan Dean Tucker to frame out the concept and host the show.

Achieved Outcomes

Lilac City Live has had significant impact on our community. It’s a true multigenerational event (our youngest attendee was seven and our oldest was 84). What’s more, at each Lilac City Live event, 20-35 percent of the audience is made up of that impossible-to-reach demographic: 25-35 year olds. Average attendance at the event regularly exceeds 300, which has activated a dramatically underused space in the library.