The arts are a vital part of any society. Go back through history and you will find an inordinate amount of examples of this from pottery to painting, theater to writing. The global artistic history still breathes life into the arts today. Artists are inspired by historical mentors such as Shakespeare, Degas, Michelangelo, Matisse, Hemingway, Byron, the list goes on and on.
Art helps to create vibrant communities. Art provides an outlet for emotions otherwise unexpressed. Art gives color where only shadows exist.
What follows is a video of the actor Kevin Spacey at the Nancy Hanks Lecture on Art and Public Policy - it's around 40 minutes long, but well worth the watch!