Is not the point of art to help us see beyond the art itself and into both that of which the art is formed and what it is framing?
Or to put it another way; the form and function of art together speak into a scope beyond that which either alone could reach.
This is, in a sense, why we can trust art more than most things. Its existence is a revelation of its nature; even as it winks coyly at fact, it is the bared breast of intention, a naked echo of the culture into which it reaches.
Art may be the only conversation that can keep secrets from itself, because it cannot know what truth it will tell to all people, especially those removed by time, context and culture.
It is the best (the only?) language we have to acknowledge and respond to the numinous, the ineffable, the spirit of the space. Even when we only use words, we lean into art to articulate the currents within and beyond the empirical.
I imagine a reason art is such a mainstay of human culture is because, on a subconscious level, it reminds us that we are aware; that our awareness is the womb of beauty (can a thing be beautiful if there is no observer to make it so?); that our nature to give intangible merit (or lack thereof) to empirical matter is a subtle assertion of our otherness.
We need art because it reminds us that we are human.
Maybe that is why, as every human discipline tries to comprehend reality and meaning and God, art stands aside and says, “Let me help you find your way.”
When math says “that equation is elegant”, there is art.
When science says “that theory is robust”, there is art.
When biology says “this enriches our understanding of this organic process”, there is art.
When economics says “this better describes what humanity values”, there is art.
When philosophy say “this expands our scope of understanding”, there is art.
And when art says “this is beautiful”, there is humanity.