I know where I stand on this. Art is almost as old as human. We don't see any art earlier than those ostrich shell beads, because they are made from much less durable materials. (Even petrographs have a lifespan--erosion is not their friend.) We make it in good times for fun, we make it in bad times to help us make sense of our suffering. We make it to explore the world and its meaning to us. We make it because of the awe, we make it because we love beauty. We were probably making music and dance when we got out of the trees. We told stories. If you say there's a record of a human tribe in the anthropological record that didn't make art, I'll say we didn't look hard enough, or the anthropologist that said that had some wacky ideological ideas that blinded him or her to the art, or that you are a liar.
I guess I don't think art has to be "for" anything. I certainly don't think that counting it up in an economic sense is a useful approach. (Wilde's cynic again.)
I think that art makes us human and humans make art. (And the egg came first, dammit! Even if a lizard or dinosaur hatched out!)
But I thought it might be interesting to know how other people on the board feel and think about this.
The Lady with a Lamprey
"The powerful are exploiting people, art and ideas, and this leads to us plebes debating how to best ration ice.
Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri