Spread Love: 1,000 hearts created by kids line windows of Waffle House in Antioch

(Submitted to FOX 17 News)

“Spread love.”

It’s a simple message that has been shared around Nashville and has a deeper meaning after tragedy once again struck the Antioch community.

Almost two months ago now, students at Cane Ridge Elementary were on lockout as a 36-hour manhunt for the Waffle House shooter, described by neighbors as “sheer terror,” took over the area. Accused gunman Travis Reinking has since been caught and charged with four counts of murder.

But the community, including children, is left to cope with such enormous tragedy and try to heal.

Part of that process is shown by the now 1,000 hearts lining windows at Waffle House along Murfreesboro Pike.

CRES art teacher Rachel Motta said she wanted to help her community heal, while inspiring students to create projects that make the viewer feel something through art.

Motta took inspiration from things happening around her, the 615 “Spread Love” campaign and the Kelsey Montague’s “What Inspires You?” mural in The Gulch.

“I also shared the art of four contemporary artists that create paintings with the intention of making people happy; Romero Britto, Peter Max, Jim Dine and James Goldcrown,” Motta said. “All of these artists work feature hearts- the international symbol of love.”

In total, over 1,000 students created the art now at Waffle House. Two art teachers, including Motta and Magdalena Koudelka, laminated the 6x6 pieces front to back.

This isn’t the first time Motta has used encouraging inspirations around Nashville to help teach her students, earlier in the year she did a collaborative piece using the "What's Lifts You" wing mural as inspiration for a wing mural in the school, with each student designing a feather.

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