Jane Alexander explains it to CNN:

What people forget is that there are over 2 million people in the United States of America who are professional artists. Those are jobs like any other jobs. The artists have families, they have people for whom they’re responsible and they give to their communities.

We all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The life part would be health and housing. The liberty part would be our civil rights. And the pursuit of happiness, the arts would come under that. And it’s as vital a part of well-being in the United States as anything else.

Most of the people I know work in the arts.  We devote our lives to creating products.  The system by which we receive compensation for our products is flawed.  The real value of our products is incalculable.   The economic impact of our work can only be estimated.  Still, it is clear that the arts impact every day of every life in this country and many beyond this country.  A government that does not perceive this value is a government that falls short of understanding what it takes to create and serve a happy, fulfilled general populace.