I am wondering what is so good about the MAX6953s?Five MAX7219 matrix modules (you can get them in groups of four) would make a 40 by 8 unit, so ten modules would do your matrix displays. What colour did you want it?For any practical project, you would be better to use a Nano than a UNO.
What makes the Nano preferable/more practical than the Uno? Sorry for the naive question.
Switching to 7219s doesn't help much; I'd need one for each matrix, and even those are a bit scarce. I happen to have to 7219's on hand, but those are already allocated.
I hope you are not suggesting that MAX7219s are scarce. The small matrices may be,