A very good article by Jerry Saltz in the Village Voice- The Whole Ball of Wax: Can Art Change the World? A Holistic Theory
"In concert with other things, however, art can change the world incrementally and by osmosis. This is because art is part of a universal force. It has no less purpose or meaning than science, religion, philosophy, politics, or any other discipline, and is as much a form of intelligence or knowing as a first kiss, a last goodbye, or an algebraic equation. Art is an energy source that helps make change possible; it sees things in clusters and constellations rather than rigid systems.
Art is a bridge to a new vision and the vision itself, a medium or matrix through which one sees the world, and that grants that pleasure is an important form of knowledge. Art is not optional; it is necessary. It is part of the whole ball of wax."