It's equivalent to a free farm in every city that does not need to be worked. Not to mention it can salvage a low-food start. Since when did Civ games stop being about growing your population? If the problem with artists is free stuff from Virtues then the free stuff from virtues need to go. People don't seem to realize how the yield bonuses from all of the colonists are really hefty for early game. The way things are going Artists are going to get axed into uslessness and everybody will wind up picking Refugess or Scientists.