There is an e-mail going around which tells a story about Joshua Bell, a famed violinist, playing his violin inside the DC Metro/subway, and most of the commuters paid him no attention. It brought to my mind a movie I'd seen, excerpt below.
This was an HBO project. They asked New Yorkers to send in stories about things of interest that they had seen happen in the NYC subway system. Then some of the stories were made into pieces, tied together into a movie.
The excerpt below was a segment in the movie titled "Sax, Cantor, Riff." It was written and directed by Julie Dash. The singer is Taral Hicks, sax player is Kenny Garrett, and the Cantor is Dan Rous. It's my response to the violin e-mail.
People are paying attention more than you may know. Even if they're busy and rush past, I think most people enjoy the street musicians and others who show up in urban places, including the subways, to perform. They may not give money or stop to applaud, or even stop to watch, because they're busy. The reason they are in the subway is because they have to get somewhere. But I still think people notice, and their lives are enriched, their days improved in some way by the brief exposure to public art and entertainment.