http://www.nycfuture.org/content/rep...p;area=realpol is the weblink to a long essay in the Center for and Urban Future called The Creative engine. It basically describes the role of art as part of the economic engine that is New York City. These various kinds of artists have helped to revive once-decaying areas such as Fort Greene and Staten Island's St. George. These cultural workforces will be important in rebuilding New York's economy after 9-11.
The biggest complaint that the artists give for leaving the city is lack of space. Also high prices force many out when yuppies and developers come in and landlords raise the price. Artists have good reason to be fearful of gentrification, which makes some of them the ultimate NIMBY's. Keep a sharp eye especially on the section on development pressures on Long Island City and the artists' opposition to it.
I don't endorse the artists' views, but nor do I want to see them exiled as a whole from this great city. Read it with an open mind.