Modern Day Shamans
Whether they know it or not, all artists of the modern age serve as Modern Day Shamans...especially in a capitalist culture like this one in the United States. This is however, largely unacknowledged. Artists develop and maintain a culture's connection to the spiritual and energetic realms or the unseen realms. This is another largely unacknowledged facet, but known by most on a subconscious level.
This Modern Western Society as we like to call it has had some interesting effects on art. It has both kept it alive and squandered its stature. It is no secret that many/most artists in America have been essentially forced to take a vow of poverty and fulfil the "starving artist" stereotype. Artists apparently, are the human sacrificials, offered up by a capitalist society to appease the gods.
The commodification of art on a large scale has mainly failed. If you take a moment to consider it, why shouldn't an artist be able to earn a wage for his contributions to society? The teacher, the dentist, the salesman, the professor, they all earn a wage for their contributions, so why are artists left out in the cold to fend for themselves?
This is mostly due to the fact that it is difficult (if not impossible) to determine the actual value of art. This is because art by its very nature resists commodification. Art is valued on a completely different scale than goods and services. Artists imbedded in capitalist societies must realize this and endeavor to not only be grounded and connected to their artistic muse, but to also become warriors in the marketplace (meaning well behaved gentlemen and ladies approaching the circumstantial necessity to collect enough $ with strategy and tact. ;) Here's where the entrepreneurism comes in, that aspect which is quintisentially human, and quintisentially American.
Artists must take it upon themselves to recognize and declare their valuable place in society, even though they feel greatly unacknowledged by a system which naturally marginalizes them. Artists must be industrious, creative, innovative, daring, and most of all persistent. Basically, artists must be ninjas on every level.
Artists should recognize their important role as conduits of consciousness between the spiritual/energetic/unseen realm and a populace that is mostly distracted and tuned out.