I think it is very important- but often people and companies don't realize how important it really is and take it for granted. Here's some information I gathered and observed from my own personal experiences. I am speaking from the point of someone who majored in design trying to find work in the industry.
I'm trying to find work in design, all the jobs seem to be taken and many employers say "so many people who are artists and designers are without work and are easily replaceable- we can fire this guy and have another guy right here to take his place 5 minutes after we let him go". This is the outlook many people have. That artists are easily replaceable. What would happen if all the artists and designers went on strike- and the companies no longer had somebody to update their website or market their work? ... Then maybe they would think differently.
This is one of the big issues I see with society. This attitude and outlook that design and art are not important- that anybody can do it and make it work. That is not true. I applied to a position once and found out the person who got hired over me used clip art in their portfolio which they did not make- and they were using it in logos and paid work. This is extremely illegal and now there are potential lawsuits happening. I watched a TV show with a subject of design and the people were pasting clip art and text in a word document saying "how great it is to be a designer". No! That is not graphic design! If this is becoming the new standard of art and design- what is the point anymore? Why go through college studying this and that when you could paste a form of clipart in a document and say this is art and design? This seems to be becoming the norm in many companies (at least from my own experiences).
So to answer the question I don't think society as a whole views art as important. I think this is because they are blind to art often- they do not realize how truly important it is until it is taken away, gone or in demand. There seems to be an incredible amount of artists and designers without work making people and companies care less- viewing art as "easily replaceable" and "anybody can do it". I think people also have different views to what is art which can make the subject matter rather difficult (example- interior design, exterior design, pastry art are not always viewed as the classical form of art). Then you can get into the different medias- the magazines, entertainment, culture. I rarely ever hear people refer to those areas as "art" though, even if it is. Again- people don't often fully understand if you ask me.
This is just some of the stuff I have noticed from my experiences. If you want to get into subcultures that is a WHOLE other area- smaller communities in society like the crafting community for example would be more into the understanding and importance of art because they often work with art and appreciate it in all the different forms. I have worked with many small businesses and have spoken with people who worked at a larger scale- and from my personal experiences I gathered this information. Again- not saying it is right or wrong, but I think the concerns are true and valid- and I see it myself all the time.
Yes. It's still important in society. When people think of an artist, they think of the kind that tries to get their stuff in a gallery without getting a real jobs. The artists that are making money work in different industries, such as graphic design or web design. It is important for businesses to have logos, for instance, so that they can easily be recognized by the audience. More and more companies are creating their own web pages, for which they need a web designer who has probably taken courses in color harmony as well as computer science. The importance of art is especially stressed in elementary schools where you have all those arts and craft projects.
Art can be in any form and it is a visual stimulant.
for example. I will be moving to a new house end of this month. It is designed by my dad and my brother. It stands out in the area because its the only house that looks different, it looks like a box, and does not have a tile roof which everything in the area does. so it looks good, and its easy to identify because it looks different.
so art can be useful in situations, and does have a certain level of importance.
Art is always important. When words fail to describe anything ot fail to capture a certain emotion, art is used to communicate intangible (or otherwise) ideas in a way that enlightens the viewer and society in general. Even in today's complicated society, self-expression and knowledge of the arts is a foundation for being an enlightened citizen.
Political cartoons can get an idea across faster than a newspaper article would. (Of course, you'd still have to read about the whole thing, but the cartoon helps get the general idea to understand better)
Graphic Design, a form of visual art, is used for advertising, packaging, labeling, and anything industry-related. Even though its more focused on form, the idea of sending a message and communicating like the fine arts still applies.
As for fine arts, and maybe this could be at the center of your question, it is unfortunately true that getting a degree in Fine Arts is not considered practical. The fine arts is probably being seen as more of a hobby than an actual career. Think of it this way, the only way you could ever be successful in Fine Arts is if someone finds your artwork and commissions you. But you have to be REALLY good (like being "in the top of your field" good) for that to happen.
Nonetheless, the arts, no matter in what form, will always be integral to civilized society simply because it is beyond language and our brains were designed to make visual connections faster than lingual connections.
P.S. Whoever proposed the question as to whether art is no longer important in society must really be fun at parties.
In advanced countries every little thing matters artistically. I would therefore say that art plays a much bigger role than before. Things have to be aesthetically pleasing to draw attention and therefore be sold, and for a person who already has basic necessities, they look for enriching their life via extras like art, which may not be necessary but becomes a common plus in these cases. And by art I mean every time a pattern for clothing or shape of an object not only has to be practical, but pleasing to the eye, or whenever a commercial, or waiting in line/going shopping/taking the bus home etc you listen to music during, etc.
Though I get what you mean, but still societies? Which society are you talking about? There alot you know, and they matter differently in each group.
Though, in most modern society we do appreciate fine art, but we tend to lean toward more to entertainment, pop culture, and all those forms of art. While there are still tribal socieites that appreciate just working in a small group, like textiles, crafting pots, etc for the familly.
Still Im getting also the feeling Im doing your homework for you.