The arts have certainly been deployed in imperialism, conquest, and colonialism. Governments and states have used the arts to expand their borders and to justify the subjugation of other peoples and civilizations. It is easy to detect this in France, where the arts were inherently political. When we talk about the "avant-garde," we talk about artists like Claude Monet, who were actively rebelling against the Academy. The French Academy was a government institution, it was basically a school that was funded by the government to train artists to produce works. As you can imagine, the subjects and styles that emerged from this school were designed to support the politics of the government (whether or not this actually happened is another topic of discussion!), and the artists were understood as agents of the government.
So when we talk about French colonial pursuits in places like Egypt in the time of Napoléon I, or in places like Cambodia and Vietnam in the time of Napoléon III (the first Napoléon's nephew), we must talk about French Academic art. Works like Gérôme's Snake Charmer of 1879 or Delacroix's Massacre at Chois of 1824 are not only driven by colonial policy and colonial thinking, but they also produced policy and thinking. You may think of a circular relationship, in which the government's actions provide artists with subject matter, and the works that these artists produce reinforce policy, which strengthens the government's imperial and colonial expansion, and so on. So in a way, the arts have played a crucial role in the expansion of borders, although in a less explicit way than in the Civ games :)