It appears that the general consensus of the word artist is confined to painters, sculptors, and the like and not music or any of the other fine arts. So, to continue in this vein, the consideration of the impact of art is contained in the old question "Does art imitate life, or does life imitate art?" If this question has validity, as it certainly does, then it seems foolish to say that art is not all that important to society.
One only needs to return to the prehistoric paintings on cave walls to understand the tremendous importance of art. What about the Bayeux Tapestry which records the Norman Conquest? Or Picasso's Guernica?!
Art in the form of architecture, Victor Hugo states in his novel Notre-Dame de Paris, is man's first way of recording his thoughts, feelings, and history. Art educates people about a culture. Art is the expression of the souls of nations.