It's always helps to have contextual information about the subject at hand, so here is a link to Houston's Municipal Art initiatives. We are lucky indeed that in 1999, City Council passed an ordinance that designates 1.75% of specific project construction budgets be used to create and display civic art. Council certainly had the big picture in mind, no pun intended.
In a 2009 op-ed piece in the Houston Chronicle, Houston Arts Alliance's Jonathon Glus gives his take on the importance of civic art in big American cities. I agree with him. It's important and ultimately income producing.
The good news right now is that throughout the new Houston Permitting Center, there is a lot of art to see and experience. Art truly in the public realm.
That being said, after watching folks in the building today, I have the sense that they are all very, very focused on their individual permitting processes and may not be taking in the surroundings at all.
Perhaps after a few trips, they'll begin to look around and see just what a cool building this is.