When the idea of creating a new mural at Oakville School was pitched around, one artist's name kept coming up again and again: Rachel Lancaster. 

Lancaster, originally from Dugald, Manitoba, but now living in Winnipeg, is known for her mural painting abilities, with 335,000 followers on Instagram and 107,000 followers on Facebook, showcasing her art for the social media world. 

file photoRachel Lancaster.

She says that when the school's principal, Mark Sokolowski, first contacted her, he told her that staff kept returning to her artwork as something the school would love to display for years.

"I guess I have a couple of fans out there in Oakville," she laughed. "I went out there, we discussed it beforehand, and they were pretty specific about the things that they wanted."

The mural, which Lancaster completed in 15 hours over three days, represents the community of Oakville, as well as inclusion and diversity.

"All of these children who are black and white, they're stepping out into a coloured theme that has the prairies, a train track and a big oak tree in the back. All these children are stepping out, and as they step out, the light from the sunshine hits them, and they turn coloured. It represents that no matter who you are or where you come from, your future is bright."

Lancaster says she usually tries to block out her environment while painting with noise-cancelling headphones. However, with groups of children coming to watch her iron out every detail, she said she had to appreciate the atmosphere.

"I don't normally notice anybody, but I'll see people watching me all the time. But this one, I had to take off the headphones a couple of times, and when I turned around, there would be about 30 kids having a conversation about the mural."

She says she was proud to hear the students' conversations about the mural and the artistic process.

"I always love when schools contact me because the children are super excited about art. You can see their faces. I just saw these kids that were shocked every time they walked by. I know that somewhere there's going to be that kid who was really into art, and it inspired them a little bit more, right?"

Sokolowski says that the final product of the mural exceeded his expectations.

file photoOakville Principal Mark Sokolowski.

"We wanted something that really captured the essence of our school, which is inclusion and learning and diversity," he continues. "We're very proud of it, and it's something that we'll have forever here, and I think it pays homage to our community."