TAKE a closer look at those sandwiches. They are not what they seem. In fact they are ceramic, but you should still seek them out in York , along with such delights as an 18th century English quadrille re-imagined by a 1930s' Berliner and jewel-like hangings inspired by medieval Guild banners.

Welcome to York Curiouser, a new project that starts on Saturday and will place specially commissioned new artworks in hidden parts of historic York for the next three weeks. Hopefully not too hidden, however.

Step forward artistic co-curators Hazel Colquhoun and Lara Goodband, who explain: “We wanted to bring a range of unique, high-quality, new art to a city that’s more often associated with tradition and history than with the contemporary.

“So we’ve matched artists to sites and specialists to artists, and made use of the generosity and knowledge of many partners in the city, such as the two universities, and the friends of York Walls and of the River Foss. We’ve asked our artists to fully exploit the possibilities created by York’s unique atmosphere, complex medieval street pattern and hidden architectural gems. York Curiouser is going to be full of surprises!”

Nothing more so than those sandwiches, cast from the real thing by Karen Thompson, a ceramicist who specialises in multiples. They will be at large around the city and they are there for taking. Once found, you will note that Karen has hand-written both her own and the York Curiouser Twitter address into each one. "I'll be fascinated to see how people will respond," she says.

The quadrille, choreographed by Lea Anderson, was danced by York volunteers and filmed by Janet Hodgson for her artwork The Workshop Of Historical Correction, which will be placed on the upper floor of the 16th century Fishergate Postern Tower. It examines how forgotten, out-of-date, wrong or misguided histories arise in a community and shows the Georgian dancers led by Mary Wigman, who choreographed the dance routines for dada nightclub Cabaret Voltaire.

Look out too for Sally Greaves-Lord’s vivid fabric banners that will flutter in the archways of St Anthony’’s Gardens, directly behind St Anthony’s Hall, one of the four York guildhalls that inspired her.

Elsewhere in the city, art lovers can visit the Red Tower, at the end of the City Walls on Foss Island Road, where they will see Heinrich and Palmer’s installation of light, water and mirrors play with perspective to dazzle the eye.

Poet John Wedgwood Clarke has written a new collection for the project, In Between, to be published soon by Valley Press. His poetry will be found in the many snickets, alleys and courtyards that link the city, temporarily inscribed on the ancient walls.

John also has collaborated with sound artist Damian Murphy to produce a soundscape of words laid over the everyday noises of the city, which will be heard in the courtyard of King’s Manor in Exhibition Square.

Artist Jacques Nimki likes to work with weeds and wildflowers but has branched out by asking the women – and men – of York to donate up to 300 handbags for an installation in and around the wildflower patch of National Centre for Early Music's gardens in Walmgate, each bag by now containing an intriguing secret.

Susanne Davies uses embroidery threads to explore the nature of repetitive labour and its connection to the feminine and domestic. Her latest intricate and colourful piece will be found in the gardens of the Merchant Adventurers' Hall.

Make a note in your diary of an event that, unlike the rest, will be restricted to one day only: on the afternoon of Saturday, June 28, Matt Hawthorn will colonise the River Foss with miniature umbrellas.

York Curiouser is supported by a series of artists’ talks, workshops, family events and walking tours. The final weekend will coincide with the Tour de France's Grand Depart in York and the event is also part of the 100-day Yorkshire Festival accompanying the tour and the University of York’s Festival of Ideas.

York Curiouser takes place at various locations around York from Saturday to July 7. For more information, visit yorkcuriouser.com or follow York Curiouser on Twitter: @yorkcuriouser

Jeannie Swales and Charles Hutchinson