Humans are born with natural survival instincts needed to keep our bodies functioning. Hunger and thirst come to mind. However, culture, that set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices, tends to play the biggest role in how individuals act on these instincts. The safety and survival stressors leading the way to a humans’ emotional well-being may include but are not limited to apprehension, distress/fear, irritation, despair, seclusion, tedium, and responsibility/guilt. The influence our culture plays on these stressors cannot be understated.
Since culture is a big driver behind our natural stressor survival instincts, communication of all types is the most accepted form for influencing humans and the culture they live in. The written and/or spoken word was once a limiting influence but as translation software and education has bridged, at least in part, some of this gap.

Never the less, She Persisted

Art is the standard for influencing the world. Whether the art is manifested as a two-dimensional work rendered on canvas, storytelling, music, or dance, artworks of all types and genres are designed to engage and influence the viewer as well as the participants.
Art not only influences it unifies, as well as, divides. Throughout history and throughout the world art weighs in on everything from religion to science; war and peace; everyday life to extraordinary events; the innocent baby to the most depraved and sadistic humans.

Never the less, She Persisted 12″ x 12″ acrylic on canvas (unfinished)

How is an artist influenced by art? “For artists whose parents had cultural interests, the most common early enchantments took place in an art museum.” ArtNEWS Artistic Influences that Made Artists. http://www.artnews.com/2014/05/27/the-art-that-made-artists-artists/
If one wishes to exert influence on a given topic, it is best to do it in an artistic medium. Create a statement in an artistic way to find the effect is more long-lasting, the audience broader, and the message is clearer.
We are all artists really. We all create and imagine in a powerful way. Visit museums, exhibitions, concerts and poetry readings. Be influenced but be influenced mindfully. Open your eyes, ears, and mind to see the world through the optics of your fellow creative creatures. Take somebody with you; a child, a trusted elder, a brash teen and listen to their unique take on their observed cultural experiences.
With these powers of observation, the artist can begin to create a message, tell a story, influence a world.