Nearly one month after Travis Reinking shot and killed four innocent people inside an Antioch Waffle House, local elementary students have been offering love to the restaurant's employees and customers through artwork.
More than 1,000 Cane Ridge Elementary School students created colorful, heart-themed pieces of art that now line the restaurant's windows and walls. It's an idea art teacher Rachel Motta came up with after realizing she was afraid of returning to Waffle House after the shooting.
"I wanted to create a way that would be therapeutic for the students, as well as myself and the community," Motta said. "And to help people want to come back to the Waffle House because we don't want to live in fear."
Motta used four artists to introduce the heart theme and bright colors to her students. With help from her fellow art teacher Magdalena Koudelka, nearly every kindergarten through fourth grade student created their own individual piece of art.
Koudelka said it was important the students understood art can make people feel something.
"I told them, 'How can we send love? How can we talk about this and make our community feel better?'" Koudelka said. "I told them we were going to give this gift to Waffle House to show them that we care."
The artwork is also timely. After the restaurant reopened, Waffle House announced they'd donate 100 percent of sales at the Antioch location to the families of the victims. May 25 will mark the end of that 30-day period.