Artists produce for a greater good, not just for themselves, and not just from themselves. It is something of God:
It is in living and acting that (people) establish (their) relationship with being, with the truth and with the good. The artist has a special relationship to beauty. In a very true sense it can be said that beauty is the vocation bestowed … by the Creator in the gift of “artistic talent”. And, certainly, this too is a talent which ought to be made to bear fruit, in keeping with the sense of the Gospel parable of the talents (cf. Mt 25:14-30).
If a “talent” is of God, from God, then there exists a duty to share, to serve others through this gift. A very Christian point. I wonder how modern non-believers in the artistic community feel about their gift. Certainly some have that sense of a greater purpose. But there are also Christian artists–Christian by belief perhaps and not practice, who are more self-centered.
Here we touch on an essential point. Those who perceive in themselves this kind of divine spark which is the artistic vocation—as poet, writer, sculptor, architect, musician, actor and so on—feel at the same time the obligation not to waste this talent but to develop it, in order to put it at the service of their neighbor and of humanity as a whole.
Pope John Paul II’s Letter To Artists is available in its entirety online here.