“I must study war and politics so that my children shall be free to study commerce, agriculture and other practicalities, so that their children can study painting, poetry and other fine things.”John Adams
Art is important because it indicates that a society is at a positive stage of stability. When art starts falling to the side or being sneered at, it is a leading indicator for a shift in stability.
When looking at the world, there are all sorts of indicators that things are changing. We can pick metrics, many of which vary depending on a number of factors, and then debate them endlessly as politicians do. We can pick events and point at them, relaying our anecdotes of how things never used to be this way. Or, we can look to history, and see that while beliefs, times, and events change, certain trends don’t.
Art is important because when it starts dwindling, it’s an indicator that things aren’t moving in a positive direction. The more difficult part is judging what is art.