There may be some communities in the USA that will probably not appreciate this answer because it is based on scientific theory. Neurological scientist, Dr. V.S. Ramachandran makes a case that art evolved because art provided essential survival advantages in the development of our species. Those without the instincts for beauty did not reproduce as well.
You can read or hear his lecture: The Artful Brain on neuro-aesthetics. Dr. V.S. Ramachandran is Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition and professor with the Psychology Department and the Neurosciences Program at the University of California, San Diego, and Adjunct Professor of Biology at the Salk Institute.
Regardless whether we think art is part of our reproductive advantage in evolution, I believe that we can make a strong case that art, if taught well, including habits of creative and critical thinking, certainly helps in the success and survival of our students in today's competitive world.